Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Role Models, Part 3

Posted: October 29, 2010 in Poetry
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CONTEXT: September, 2010

See Role Models, Part 1

    Role Models, Part 3

They said they were role models –
Why can’t the whole world
Work like they do?
Love and strength and iron
Forging into a structure
Of power and might.
Love and strength and beauty
Forming into a structure
Of warmth and safety.
An invisible structure
That allowed anyone in their
Wake to feel at home,
Simply by being in
Their presence.
They said they were role models
Defining bonds that did not bind
Gossamer shackles and
Chains of smoke and pixie dust
Held together by nothing more
Than intentions
And absolute good will.
They said they were role models
And didn’t they live that life?
Didn’t they laugh and love
And embrace the world around them?
Didn’t they dance and sing
And spray love like
A lawn sprinkler spun around
On the end of a hose?
They said they were role models
As they grasped at the smoke
And questioned whether
Pixie dust was real
Or the product of a
Child’s imagination.
A role model
Is only a piece of a person
But their lessons never
End with their role.

“““““““““

Next would be my response to the G20…

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Role Models, Part 2

Posted: October 26, 2010 in Poetry
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CONTEXT: September, 2010

See Role Models, Part 1.

    Role Models, Part 2

They said she was a role model,
She had her shit together,
Cool as a cucumber
And ready to face whatever
The world threw her way.
They said she was a role model,
The way she carried herself,
Her hair always styled just so
And her outfits immaculate
At all times.
They said she was a role model
As her outward appearance
Was only reinforced by her
Strength of character –
A mind that left steel traps
Bemoaning their weakness
And a will that seemed
Carved out of granite.
They said she was a role model
For any young girls who
Were told what they
Could do or be.
She knew her own mind
And refused to be swayed
By a less than convincing
Argument with
Impeccable logic, wit
And panache.
They said she was a role model
While she wondered
Where her place was
In the world
Or who had given her
The role in the first place.

“““““““““““““““`

Next is Part 3 (of 3).

Role Models, Part 1

Posted: October 25, 2010 in Poetry
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CONTEXT: September, 2010

This piece came from… well, le tme just say that I was having a pretty hard time recently and this poem came from the idea that people thought I had it all together.

Enough said…

    Role Models, Part 1

They said he was a role model,
An example to hold up
For anyone trying to achieve
What he has achieved
Or become what he has become.
They said he was a role model
Of perserverance
Or dedication
Or hard work.
He proved to them
That you could overcome
Any adversity.
Hardships could be put
To sea, with sails fully filled.
Roadblocks become speedbumps
With the force of personality
And they said he was a
Role model there, too.
They said he was a role model
For not allowing the world
To force you into a role
So you roll along in an
Assigned groove.
They said he was a role model
For independance and strength.
For standing up for
What you beleive
And helping others find
Their places, their roles
Of their own making.
They said he was a role model
While he asked
Where the role model
Was for him.

“““““““““““`
THe next poem is Role Models, Part 2 but I am also thinking about a different post… one I may or may not write.

Tricks

Posted: September 21, 2010 in Poetry
Tags:

CONTEXT: August 2010

Back in August I was invited for an evening at a friend’s house (Hi Nadine!) Ruthanne had the car so I was waiting for the bus, listening to the Hold Steady on my iPod. While listening I was marvelling at some of the lyrics, thinking that this guy would make an excellent slam poet. On a whim I picked out the next lyric to see what I would do with it.

It happened to be Silly rabbit/tripping is for college kids…

I immediately thought Silly rabbit/tricks are for red light districts.

I started writing the rest in my head.

By the time I got to my destination, I ran into the local grocery store and bought a pad and pack of pens (a poet out without a pad and pen?!?! I KNOW!!) and started writing on the brick wall outside.

However, it seems that the poem I wrote appeals to pretty much just me. I have read it to three people and to say the response was less than enthusiastic would be an understatement.

I have made a few changes and I really want to slam it, but maybe I will find this is just one of those poems that is for me, rather than the audience.

    TRICKS

Hey, do you want to
See a trick?
Silly rabbit, tricks are
For places where the lights are red
And all the men are named John.
The girls? Well they are called
Whatever you want them to be, honey,
And if you want more than that
You need to know that these places
Have redefined intimacy
And the legend that she was once Jennifer
From Grande Prairie is a closely
Guarded secret. The location of that
Scar on her inner thigh, though, is
Yours as long as you are willing
To pay the toll.
As much as you think
You are buying, or
Maybe renting,
That fee won’t let you know that the
Scar came from the business end
Of a Player’s Extra-Light
And it really won’t let you know that
It was her own hand that held it.
That is the toll that she herself is
Paying,
But never in full
And the rollover is eating her
Alive.
She knows that if she can
Save up enough she can
Enroll in one of those colleges
That lets you pretend you
Finished high school
But she can’t save anything
Unless she holds some back
On her pimp and the last
Time she did that he
Loosened her tooth,
Which is funny
Because Jimmy used to
Want to be a dentist
Before his dyslexia
Left him on the wrong side of
An admissions dismissions letter.
Now he is only about money
And his is tax free.
You want to see a real trick?
Watch how Jimmy manages to
Get to sleep after the
Flash of a 40watt Enlightenment
Reminds him that he swore he would never
Be like his bastard father
Who hit harder when he was sober,
As rare as that was.
Jimmy never knew that his
Father dreamed of singing opera
And woke to an institutional grey
That dreams couldn’t wash away.
The old man drove a new-to-him
Tricked out pick-up
With a fireball paint job
That he bought with his first
Real job paycheque.
Sometimes he would smile and say
It was the best moment in his life –
Other times he would cry and say
It was the best moment in his life.
Until he performed his last trick
With his truck and a length of
Vacuum tubing, leaving behind
A defeated wife and a son
Who would grow to hate him.
I’ve got no tricks to show you
And I have nothing up my sleeves
But ink-scrapings and muscle-ache
But I can tell you this,
Clapping hands won’t always
Bring Tinkerbell back
And would that wishing
Could make the world tame.
Some say the greatest trick
The devil ever pulled was
Convincing the world he
Did not exist,
But I say we do his job
Fine without him
And the real greatest
Trick is making
A person disappear
Behind a cloud of
Perception, layered
With assumption
Until there is nothing
Left but caricature
And the ghost of the
Person left behind.

Jennifer from Grande Prairie
Likes watching the street
Magicians trying to out-hustle
The street musicians
In the battle for some silver
To jingle-jangle
And she just wants to see the one
With the rabbit and the hat.
She says it always used to
Make her smile…
And she had such a beautiful smile.

““““““““““““

Next is a three parter I wrote for Bill Brown, but decided not to use.

Food

Posted: September 20, 2010 in CPC, Poetry
Tags: ,

Capital Slam on Saturday started out pretty rocky but turned into a very solid show. Our second show of the season, and already our first SELL OUT!

Poetic Speed, Komi Olafimihan was our feature and he was great! I have been fortunate to be on a Slam team with Komi in both 2008 and 2009 as well as spending time with him when I am with the Recipe. I consider him a friend but more than that, I consider him one of the most talented people I have ever met.

Chris Tse won the slam again (2 for 2 this year), but was followed tightly by an impressive debut by Mack Cannon. In fact, it was only a time penalty that took the win from the newcomer. The top five rounded out with Elle P, ArRay-of-WoRds and Jessica Ruano.

I missed the second round by .1, which is kharma because last slam I only got in by .1.

CONTEXT: August, 2010

This a poem I wrote but have never (and may never) perform. It is pretty on the nose so not a whole lot of explanation is needed.

What I will say is that I topped out at 300 pounds and as of this morning I was down to 278.8 pounds. Moving in the right direction.

    FOOD

Here I stand
More mountain than man
As I try to put a positive spin
On what everybody can see
But nobody wants to say.
I am fat.
Trotting around with a hundred
Extra pounds
Leads to comments like BIG,
IMPOSING, BROAD, or for some –
JOLLY.
(nobody has ever called me jolly)
It also leads to comments
Past the back of the hand
Like LAZY, PIG, DISGUSTING…
Or maybe that’s just me
Talking about me.
I wasn’t always this way.
In high school I was a
Scarecrow
With a metabolism that
Cranked out at quadruple speed
So that my need to feed
Almost became a joke.
I was an athlete –
Well, maybe a mathlete
But weight gain never even
Crossed my mind.
Until my metabolism decided
It had worked enough for
Two lifetimes and my
Appetites decided they were
Just getting started.

When did food become my pacifier
For self-respect?
When did self-fulfilling
Become self-destructive?

Feel good about yourself,
I hear.
Love the body you are in.

Well, I hear some other things, too.

Cardiovascular disease
Osteoarthritis
Hypertension
Gall-bladder disease
High cholesterol
Type 2 diabetes
Stroke

My father had a stroke at 25
It was from defect
Rather than neglect
But am I still playing
Genetic roulette every time
I take that fourth slice of
Pizza or my daily allotment
Of Vitamin Coke passes the
Liter mark?

I don’t want this to be me
Defined by a growing resemblance
To Santa Claus as age turns
Red to white.

I want to stop reading this poem
And have people say he is a
Fraction of the man he used to be.

But until then, I am what you see
And my weight is what defines me.

““““““““““““““`

Next is a poem that I seem to like more than anyone else does.

Judging

Posted: September 13, 2010 in Poetry, Slam
Tags: ,

Wow… I didn’t write a single poem in July. The festival (and not being on a team) is distracting me more than I would have thought.

CONTEXT: August, 2010

I wrote this piece for the Bill Brown 1-2-3 2nd Anniversary Show.

This show is a little different from a regular slam. First off, it is in a 1-2-3 format so the first round is 1 minute poems, 2nd round 2 minute, etc.

Secondly, it is a head-to-head show, so instead of getting scores, the judges just choose which of two poets/poems they prefer and that poet moves onto the second round.

Last year I did quite well in this show. I managed to get all the way to the semi-finals before running into the brick wall that is World Slam Champion, Ian Keteku.

This year I was not so lucky. I drew Truth Is… in the first round. Sigh.

The good news is the confirmation that Truth and Beth-Ann are just about finished their move to Ottawa. They will be great additions to our community!

Anyway, here is my one-minute poem that lost to Truth Is…

    Judging

This poem goes out
To all the judges
In the audience.
Not just the ones who
Jot down scores,
Hold up placards
Or otherwise have their voices
Heard in an official capacity.
No, I am talking about those
Other judges who pass
Judgment with their stares
As our wares display for
Inspection.
The querrelous inflection
That opens up for dissection
Each hinted at indiscretion
That led to a poetic conception.
For each performance is a birth
Where we then put our
Baby on a platform
To see if it conforms
To your exacting standards.
Switch on the flood-lights
For tonight’s prize fights
To see who puts out whose lights
In the knockout of the night!
A right hook that only
Connects after ricocheting
Off the ears of those judging
To land only where they aim it.
So whether I have been
Pre-judged or post-judged
I don’t begrudge any of you.
Here I stand,
Chin exposed,
Offering up more than
My body or mind, as I can shield those.
You’ve got a rock in one hand
And love light in the other
And my soul sits encased in glass.
Now it is your time,
Pick your weapon and target
And let it fly.

“““““““““““““

The next one is written but not performed. It would have been the two minute piece at Bill Brown.

The New CapSlam Season is Underway!

Posted: September 7, 2010 in CPC, Poetry, Slam
Tags: ,

And what I bizarre show!

Okay… the first round was underway… we had OpenSecret setting the bar as the sac poet… Chris Tse set the bar in the event itself… Sean O’Gorman scored really well… I ‘slam debuted’ Moving to Arizona, with a less than perfect delivery but it went off okay.

Then up came Tommy Fitz. This cat was clearly a stand-up comic rather than a poet, but hey… it’s all spoken word, right?

He started strong with a bit about a movie adaptation of the game Battleship. It was funny. People laughed. It was good.

Then he did THE joke. I am going to reproduce it (slightly edited, so you understand what went down).

“I use bad words when I play scrabble. Words like ‘spook’, ‘jigaboo’, negro, and sometimes ‘n****r’. I use those words when I play against racists, because they are the only words they can spell.”

Okay, so there is the ‘joke’. The fact that it isn’t funny… well, that happens. Comedy is hard. HOWEVER… this guy is white. By the time he hit the N-bombs, the room was nearly silent. One guy laughed. The rest of the room sat in dead silence.
He kind of apologized for the joke when he realized how it went over and when on to the next one. If you wanted to give him ANY benefit of the doubt, he lost in on the next joke which involved saying a certain accent made them sound ‘retarded’.

One person walked out of the room in anger after the N-bomb. (He came back, I am glad to say.)

When he left the stage he did so to minor, light, polite applause. When he got to the back he said something to Danielle about having just written that joke and it was a mistake. Then he was out the door. (Now, I happen to know that he had another gig. He wasn’t JUST fleeing the scene.)

Then came the scores: I was a little disappointed at first with how high they were… but the rest of the judges came through. 8.4 7.9 4.0 0.5 0.4
AND he had a 4 point time penalty. giving him an 8.4, the lowest score I have ever seen at a slam.

I was happy how the crowd dealt with him. They didn’t turn ugly… they just made it very clear they weren’t going to support him in any way. Very mature yet… properly judgemental.

After that, the room was sucked clean of any good energy. I felt really bad for arRay-of-Words who had to go up next. He definitely scored worse then he normally would have there.

By the end of the first round I was telling Danielle that I thought this was the worst show we had ever had. (though some great performances by the likes of Elle P and Sarah Musa were a nice surprise to many in the room.)

I am happy to say that our feature, Fraser, won the room back. A great set mixing poetry and hip-hop, including some VERY timely stuff about race turned the show back into a positive atmosphere. He ended with a cool freestyle that namedropped Poetic Speed.

The second round was REALLY good, though. Sarah Musa went up first and while it wasn’t as strong as her first round piece, we still know that she is a name to watch.
Second up was Elle P. I personally discovered her at Voices of Venus and asked her to come Slam. This was her debut with us and she ROCKED it. Two steller pieces.
Third up in the 2nrd round was me. I did Angst and it went over well. I mean REALLY well. I think some o fmy own emotions came through as I have been having a tough time lately. Nothing I’m going to get into here, but that’s just the way it is. Afterwards I had a number of people thank me for the poem in the way that tell sme they have suffered from the depression that I talk about. Sometimes poetry is really rewarding.
It was pretty ‘rewarding’ on the scoreboards as well as I got 3 tens and ended with a 29.8
O’G went up and continued to show why is such a rising star.
Chris Tse went up last and said 29.8, eh? Let’s see what I can do about that… and also got 3 tens but ended with a 29.9

Final (remember that the rounds are cumulative)
1. Chris Tse (starting the new season like he ended the last one)
2. Elle P
3. Rusty Priske
4. Sean O’Gorman
5. Sarah Musa

Oh, as a side note, Danielle Gregoire only missed the second round by .1 and when she was knocked out because Sarah Musa slayed the room in the 1st round? Well, I’ve never seen someone happier for getting knocked out. 🙂

Next up, Bill Brown 1-2-3 Anniversary show. I really don’t know what I am goign to do for the short pieces.