a cork board


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.

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Something Brewing…
PMpTue, 29 Sep 2015 22:44:22 +000044Tuesday 1, 2010, 10:44 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

A strange thing has happened as of late….I’ve been writing multiple times a week. I don’t know what they are, I just know that my pen is moving and my fingers are punching keys on my phone at a rapid rate. I’m using poetry as a means to self-healing and self-discovery again. It feels great. I have something that I’m working on that I will share soon.



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.



Why ‘Frozen’ Is Awesome
PMpWed, 12 Feb 2014 14:37:36 +000037Wednesday 1, 2010, 2:37 pm
Filed under: the ether, the sweetst thing | Tags: , , , , ,

Disney’s newest movie ‘Frozen’ is taking the world by storm. I don’t have any figures or statistics to back that up, but believe me, it’s out there. Google or Bing it, it’s all out there. The movie has made almost $900million at the box office and isn’t even done yet. Movie theaters across the country are hosting ‘Frozen’ sing-a-longs on a daily basis and it is still about a month away from DVD release (where it will make a killing). The movie is doing handsomely well. They’re saying this movie (along with ‘Tangled’ and ‘Wreck It Ralph’) is ushering in the dawn of a new golden era over at Disney (the previous being ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘ Aladdin’, The Little Mermaid’, etc.). I couldn’t be happier about it. It coincides with me having kids, so hey, I will get to see almost all of them. After watching the world of animation expand and evolve they’ve had to fight for theirs.

My wife and I took our 4yo son to see the movie since those hilarious TV spots got his attention very quickly. He was in awe and he was hooked. The movie sold out and the place was packed wall to wall with parents and droves of little children. Boys and girls alike were in amazement at the wonder of ‘Frozen’. Did I mention us parents were too? Look, ‘Frozen’ is awesome. I’m a 32yo man rockin’ a winter beard and flannel and I’ll admit it, this movie is the bee’s knees. It rocks. You truly experience just about every emotion when watching this movie. So, now that I’ve stated how awesome I think it is, I thought I would list the reasons why ‘Frozen’ is awesome. Here goes.

1. The “true love” foundation to the story is not a princess waiting on her Prince Charming. True love is between sibling, 2 sisters to be exact. The fact that a female lead is not desperately flipping her hair so a man’s attention can give her some self-worth is something to write home about.

2. The female leads in the movie are capable, independent-minded, strong and intelligent women who struggle with finding their place in the world. They’re not completely incapable of surviving without the help of prince charming.

3. The princess does not marry the very first handsome prince that gives her the time of day, though she almost does.

4. There are so many moral victories to be had in this movie: young woman coming of age, meaning of true love, importance of parents/family, sacrifice for the greater good, conquering one’s demons by accepting that negative feelings are okay, a healthy imagination is wondrous and so many more that I cannot think of them.

5. The sequence during the “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?” song is to ‘Frozen’ what the 2min heart-wrenching sequence was at the beginning of ‘Up’. It will bring a grown man to tears.

6. Oh right, the songs….the songs are not only catchy and heavily sing-a-longable, but they are plot-advancing devices that serve a purpose!

7. They don’t force any modern-day references to make the movie more palatable to current audiences.

8. Lastly, Queen Elsa totally could have been in the X-Men.

That last one can’t leave my mind. In a different time, in a different universe, this entire happenings of this movie would have ended with a visit from Charles Xavier and Magneto. Queen Elsa would be a kick-ass member of the X-Men. Imagine what she could do with her powers at Prof. X’s School for the Gifted. Wow. That’s just awesome. But hey, Disney owns Marvel now right? Maybe they’re ahead of the game here and are really up for crossing their universes and we’ll see an animated Prof. X say he heard some “rumblings from the distant past of a very powerful mutant” or something like that. Wouldn’t that be awesome?! Far fetched, I know. But it certainly has the workings of some serious fan fiction. Look, if they’re gonna send Wolverine into the past in the upcoming ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ then this is not that far-off of an idea. That being said, with the super-surge in popularity of superheroes maybe Disney thought “hey! Let’s do a story with princess that has superpowers.” Whatever the gamble was, it has paid dividends.

That is why I think ‘Frozen’ is infinitely awesome. If you have been thinking about seeing it but have been putting it off, go and see if while you can experience it in theater. Adults and children alike can find something magical in this movie. I’m not ashamed to say that I love this movie and will be buying it on Blu Ray when it comes out, not just for my son and daughter, but also for my wife and I. And with the way the leading women are represented in this movie I have zero issues with my daughter watching this movie. She has as much to learn from this movie as my son. She’s only 18months but she’ll see it in her time, because we will have it on the shelf. I’m gonna start using a hashtag to show my love for this movie and see if it picks up. In the name of grown men, bearded or burly or bodybuilders, who are not afraid to show their love for ‘Frozen’ I am gonna start using the hashtag #FrozenFanBoys. If this is you, rock it. Good job Disney, way to break the mold that you yourself have created.



I’m Back! (Again)
PMpFri, 07 Feb 2014 15:32:36 +000032Friday 1, 2010, 3:32 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hello Everybody!

I just wanted to acknowledge the fact that I’ve been completely absent for the better part of a year and was drifting in and out before then too. I love my blog. It’s a place to explore ideas, discuss topics and a place to share my writing. Last year I suddenly became a little overwhelmed by the idea of people following my blog from different corners of the world. It was a bit much. When you start out blogging you know that the internet is open and you are putting everything out there, but last year I think my number of followers doubled and I was a little overwhelmed by it all. I even went through a spell of writer’s block. I tried to write poems but nothing worked and it was all forced. I feel the sun started to peak it’s beautiful face out again and I am writing again. But, have no fear, I am going to make an effort to post a lot more. To share my thoughts, ideas, get back to writing again so I can share poems and maybe even a picture or two. I have missed my page to be honest. I’ve missed what it is for me and having an avenue to articulate some of my ideas and thoughts that would normally pass through like the wind. So…with that being said, thank you for reading, thank you for following. I appreciate it more than you know and am humbled at the fact that you choose to sit down and use your time to read my blog. You are awesome. And thank you for being so awesome.



NaPoWriMo – Day 4
AMpThu, 18 Apr 2013 07:33:35 +000033Thursday 1, 2010, 7:33 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

So by the 30/30 standard of NaPoWriMo I’m doing pretty terrible. But my goal from the outset of this thing was just to get writing again. I haven’t written a poem in almost a year, so this was an excrcise in getting the mind moving again. With that being said, I don’t know how much more I’ll accomplish, but I have some more in mind and will try to wrap up some old and unfinished poems in the coming 2wks.

 

Morning Commute

 

Each morning we arise

with the world at our backs.

We feed our hungry mouths,

wash our tired bodies and

adorn our weathered skin

with garments to face the day.

 

Before leaving our humble abodes,

without ever meaning to do so,

we pack all of our baggage with us

for the journey into life.

 

Our stories are scribed

into our skin and laced in our breath.

Every moment of heartache and triumph.

Our lovers, friends and enemies.

Our acts of betrayal and loyalty.

Our lies and infinite truths.

Every act that elicited an emotion

is hanging over our head

and sitting atop our shoulders.

 

So we walk, we ride and we drive.

We climb into giant metal boxes with wheels

and travel at speeds beyond our own potential.

We stop and go, we climb and we fall.

We march like little ants in single-file lines

to our places of work and learning.

Raging and smiling along the way

at all that we encounter,

enwrapped in our own little world.

 

Our lives intersect

and we don’t even realize

that our stories long to be shared.

Our triumph yearns to be experienced

and our history would love to be spoken.

 

I see lonely eyes at red lights,

hoping for an extended hand of sorts.

But all I have for them is a cracked smile

and my foot on the gas and I’m gone.

 

Onto the next lonely face.

Forward to silently cross paths

with another whispered tale

of human life and survival.