Speed Dial

Posted: January 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

Poem post time!

This has been a very… off year for me. With all the other things that have been going on, whether dealing with Safe Space issues or the fallout from that, including mediation issues and threats of lawsuits, I have hardly written anything. It is also very unlikely that I am going to go out for the Slam team… which would be only the second time in nine years that I have done that. (The other being 2010 when I was Slam Master at CFSW instead.)

I really would like to get my name on the belt but I just don’t know if I could give me all to another team at this point and I don’t believe in committing to something without COMMITTING to something, if you know what I am saying.

I do have a poem backlog, though! I did this poem at CapSlam this week (and won). Prior to that, I did it at a CapSlam Semi-Final… in 2013, I think.

CONTEXT: July, 2012

Well, here is the story.

I wasn’t always the mountain of a man you see now. In fact, all the way through high school, I was pretty darned skinny. By the time I graduated I had started to fill out, but only catching up with my wide shoulders and ribcage.

I didn’t grow up with the stigma of extra weight. (I had various other stigma, but that is a different point.)

I was actually somewhat of an athlete. Not a top athlete or a jock type, but I played soccer for five years (which followed four years of baseball). I actually got somewhat good at it. I was invited to try out for the Under-16 provincial team at one point (thought I didn’t make the team). I also used to so some long distance running.

I also had the metabolism to match. I ate a lot. I remember when my friend Shawn and I would head out on a Friday night, driving around, and come back to our house to order two-for-one extra-large pizzas. That was one each. I used to buy McCain chocolate cakes to have as a snack. I used to eat poptarts by the box… straight out of the box.

But I never put on weight. I just kept getting taller… though that levelled out.

Then I moved to Ottawa. I had started putting on weight before that, but nothing too extreme. When IO moved to Ottawa, I kept jogging since that was my only real source of exercise since I stopped playing soccer.

Then winter hit. I had planned to give jogging through winter. The cold didn’t bother me too much. I figured I could tough it out. The first time I tried to jog after it snowed, I got about a block before I slipped on some ice and twisted my knee. It wasn’t really bad, but it was enough to stop my jogging for the winter.

You know what they say about good habits, right? How they are easier to break than to create? Well, winter ended and jogging didn’t come back. I was also dealing with some pretty major depression, which didn’t help.

By the time I moved to Calgary, I realized that the way I saw myself was no longer accurate. (To give frame of reference, I once performed in a musical version of the Wizard of Oz. I played a Kansas famer who was – more or less – the analog for the Scarecrow. That is how I saw myself. Gangly.)

Calgary wasn’t good for me, generally. I did start going to a gym but I just got stronger. (That is one thing I can say about being the size that I am… I am pretty strong, physically.)

Have I tried to change things at times? Can I honestly answer yes? I mean, I have tried somewhat, but I have never really put a full effort into it. There is just too much tied in with it for me.

When I am happy, I eat.

When I am unhappy, I eat. (And with the depression I have been dealing with, the latter is much more common.)

The only time this works in my favour is when I am ‘in balance’, but that is not a place I have been very successful at spending much time.

I am who I am.

I once read a comic that was otherwise unremarkable. It was an Annual for the late-80s Justice League. In the regular comic, Blue Beetle was going through a story where he was gaining weight. He is an ‘athletic’ hero, with no actual powers and teaming up with people like Green Lantern had meant he wasn’t actually DOING very much other than flying their plane.

The Annuals that year were flashing ten years into the future. In it Beetle had bottomed out, sold his costumed identity and just couldn’t get himself back on track. There was a scene where he gave himself a little speech about how things were going to turn around and today he was going to start a new life. He then ordered a pizza.

Shitty comic but that scene really hit home.

I am NOT telling you this to ask for pity or help. In fact, if you read the poem you will see how I react to that sort of thing. I am just telling you this so you can know who I am. If I get anything out of poetry it is that… going through life feeling like nobody understands you is not a good thing, at least for me. I did that for a very, very long time.

So, here is the poem. It is a performance piece so when I get to the point where I talk about pizza, picture me taking an invisible phone out of my pocket to place the order.

Speed Dial

They say good things come in threes
So you can enjoy that
First blessing more than the
Last knowing you have
Two more lining up for you.
Ignore triple sixes and call on
Triple A to hit that triple axel
Of roadside assistance.
Then there is Triple X,
Either on a cask of over-powered
Illicit hooch, or brown-papered
Adult entertainment, but
What about when Triple X means
Extra, extra, extra
With an extra L hanging
Around my neck, with an
Abandon hope all ye who
Don’t fit into the ‘standard’
Size of merch shirts.
My Triple X comes with different
Judgements than hardcore videos
But it is still a hard chore to
Walk past that mirror and not
Recognize who is
Looking back.
When your mential image
Remembers the high school
Stick fig where those Xs
Stood for xylophone as you
Could tap out a tune on
Nature’s musical ribcage of lean
Athletics and hyper-metabolisitc
But that teenager learned
Mitosis without the fission
As two of me stand
Stuffed into one sun-sheltered

The life of the
Above-average man leads
To awkward pauses and the
Search for corners to fit in.
But when the 3 stands for
No CGI ab-enhancement
Can make more – or less –
Of an army of spartan swinging
Scales that flash back the
Weighted truth and
‘Tonight, we dine on…”
Hey, I could go for pizza.
Hold on a sec.

“Yeah, it’s me – give me the
Usual – an extra-large with

What? Doesn’t everyone have
The pizza place on speed dial?
Sometimes a guy has a whole
That CAN be filled-
Or at least glossed over.
And now I tell you this,
Which is dangerous as now
When I place my order
I will see that look of
Well-meaning judgement
And pity, “Did he forget he
Is unhappy? Why would he do
That to himself? Does he really
Need that extra Coke?”

And your eyes that say
More than your mouth
Ever will, thinking you
Can change me by
Telling me how to live.
As if it were SOOOO easy
To… just… change…

But the eyes are not yours.
The incriminating looks are
Not yours. The scrambling
For excuses like maybe my
Father didn’t love me enough
Or the babysitters loved me
Too much – searching for
A release or excuse that
Can be repaired or forgiven
As no look of repulsion
Could match the anger and
Disgust that coats the
Inside of my skin.
The black clouds that
Shutter my three eyes
And convince me that
Beauty is skin deep
And a reflection of your worth.

But when I get down like this
There is always a cure that
Pretends to be my friend,
Hiding hate behind a smile.
So you don’t need to worry about me.
I keep the number on speed dial.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s