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



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.

 

 



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.



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.