a cork board


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

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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.

 

 

 

 

 



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.



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.



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.