Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

Four-Colour World

Posted: January 23, 2012 in Uncategorized
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CONTEXT: April, 2011

Obviously by that date this poem is not new – but it is ‘newly released into the wild’.

I wrote this simply because I like comics and I let the poem itself dicate the way it was going to go. It ended up being up self-perception and the idea of persona.

I debuted in (reading) at my Urban Legends feature in September. The audience gave good feedback (espacially PrufRock). I slammed it (memorized) for the first thime this weekend, Friday in Perth and Saturday at CapSlam. The judges were less kind.

In fact, it is my third worst performing poem at slams of all time, ahead of only A Van Full of Poets and Air.

    Four-Colour World

I used to live in a four-colour world.
Capes and spandex,
Newsprint and plastic
Bags to protect them from
The more insidious threats
Than Baron Zemo and Doctor Doom.
Comic books which were
As escapist as Harry Potter,
Harlequin Romance or the New Testament,
Tantamount to finding a
New life Through the Looking Glass,
Over the Rainbow or in a
Bustling Urban Metropolis.
It was all ‘Excuse me miss,
Did you drop this?’ or
‘Watch out for that falling
Piano!’
In a desperate desire
To be a hero
Instead of a zero
Because in the fantasy world,
Just like ours,
There is no middle ground.
You are the leading man
Or just part of the scenery,
Fading into the greenery
If you are lucky.
Victimized object lesson
If you aren’t.
But it isn’t the spotlights
Or coloured tights.
I wasn’t looking to
Outrace locomotives
Or benchpress buicks
Or stun the world with
The UNBRIDLED POWER OF
MY MIND –
As impressive as it is.

No, where comics really
Appealed to me
Was the power of the secret id.
A whole identity you can pull on
And shrug off with no one
None the wiser.
Pull on personalities like
Old trousers,
Play marginal personality
Roulette
To decide which of your
Quirks gets to
Come out and play.
It is a Post Secret for the
Post-traumatic generation.
Over-share as outerwear
And roleplay therapy
That’s consequence free,
Mask firmly in place
So you can’t tell it’s me
And I can let you know
How I really feel…
But how can I even know
That it’s real?
If that Spider-Mask
Covers the public me
That is only a mask too, you see
Made from emotional Kevlar
Pretending to be invulnerable
Though paper thin,
Hiding the next me
That only few see,
A layer of lowered
Tangibility
To brush off what penetrates
Before it reaches level three…
Or is that four?
I’m not sure I remember any more
As this walking inception
Is always one layer deeper
And pulling off a costumed
Hood and mask
Only reveals another.
So, do you want to know me?
I am what you see,
As long as you have X-ray specs
Or a third eye on overdrive,
Searching for level five
Or is it six, or maybe more –
What are you so intent
On looking for?
Tearing the so-called hero down
Until mild and mannered
Become equivalent to
Faceless and nameless,
Protected and blameless,
Outwardly almost famous,
But mask firmly in place,
Spider-senses tingling,
And it is time to go
Save the world,
And maybe, if I am feeling really brave,
Or maybe cocky,
I will pull up the mask
And give you a little peek
At all the scars hidden underneath
And together we can
Redefine the word hero.

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Kira

Posted: December 12, 2011 in Uncategorized
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CONTEXT: March, 2011

I wrote this around when my niece was graduating from high school and I believed she was going to come live with us for a while as she was university bound.

She didn’t come and it stayed in my book.

The premise still stands, though, and who knows what the future may bring.

I guess my sister is going to read it now. 🙂

    Kira

I probably shouldn’t let my sister
Hear this poem
But it is not for her anyway.
This poem is for her daughter,
My niece,
As she readies herself
For her next great adventure,
Leaving the nest at a dead run
But this Icarus needs to test the sun.
Far from home, but not from family
As our doors gape wide,
But let me calm your fears, Kira.
We aren’t your parents.
I know that every generation
Looks askance at those ahead
On the highway, understandably,
But we aren’t all the
Conservative inhabitants of
The establishment
Insisting on long-term thinking,
Forgetting that every day
Starts with a sunrise
And the birth of promise,
And every night hides new mysteries
Waiting to be puzzled out.
No, we are the ageless sages
Who refuse to call yours
The good years
Because that puts a cap on them,
With a flat top and tassel.

It is time for choices
…And mistakes.
False starts and
Heartbreaks.
We will listen when you are
Talking out that third
Major change before
Second year and that
Unreliable rock star that
Left you crying in your beer.

Let me be clear –
If anyone ACTUALLY hurts you
I will kick their ass
But hearts heal
No matter how it feels
When you find him lip-locked
With that Emma Peel wannabe
Outside of Rooster’s –
And we can score you some weed
If you want it.
And if you want a place for that
‘Special friend’ to stay,
That over-protection comes in
A box marked Trojan.
We’ll stand clear when you need
And prop up when you lean
As your future unfolds as it will.

I recently saw a letter
From a concerned writer
Who asked a Newspaper Career Counsellor
What to do about a daughter
Who avowed to become a poet.
There were words like
‘Practical’ and ‘stability’
As the two of them shared
A conspiratorial chuckle.
Nowhere did it say anything about
Helping her to become
The best poet she could be
Or the relative world need
Of a poet, compared to something
Like say a Newspaper Career Counsellor.

I’m not saying you should be a poet
But find what makes your
Heart sing
And what lets you link with the
Universe in perfect symbiosis
And don’t worry about
Other people’s notions of
Practical and safe.

Your uncle is a poet,
Your aunt is a storyteller,
But you are the universe –
Your mind expanding Like stardust – propelled by
The Big Bang of that
Moment that you realize
That the world belongs
To you.

Release the handbrake
But you control the accelerator

Experience what the world has to offer
And offer the world your experience
And when it gets too much
We can also be your cocoon
Reminding you that above all,
You are loved.

Darwin’s Theory of Revolution

Posted: December 8, 2011 in Uncategorized
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CONTEXT: March, 2011

This poem has a fairly convoluted origin. It starts with my philosophical and sociological views of the world.

I don’t really believe in Revolution as a means of change. Take Egypt for example. That sure LOOKED like great changes were afoot, but what happened? The military took power.

Was that the goal? It sure didn’t look like it at the time.

But that can seem very defeatist. It seems like I don’t think change is possible, and that is not the case at all. I just think that change sticks better if it comes about in a more organic way.

Look at it this way, does the fight against homophobia come because the government enacted laws or did the government enact laws because the public started demanding change? Did they wake up one morning and realize that they had been wrong headed and needed to change their lives or was it a slow process that ended up with open prejudice being the exception rather than the rule.

Another example: I KNOW that I used to hear the ‘N-bomb’ when I was a kid at least on a semi-regular basis.

By the time I was 20 I remember being shocked when I heard someone say it… but still didn’t do anything about it.

By the time I was 40, if I hear someone say it now… well, let’s just say that it is VERY unacceptable.

Things change, but gradually. This doesn’t mean we can’t demand change. In fact, we NEED to.

Anyway, that is why I think evolution beats revolution when it comes to civilization change.

So, a while back I wrote that concept down in my ideas book. I simply wrote Civilization: Evolution vs Revolution. When I started to write it, I realized right away that I should play with that rhyme scheme. I started writing some lines. Then more. Then more. I realized I was on to something. I found a website that had a list of words that ended in ion and I went to town.

The trick here is that these are NOT just words that fit the rhythm. The poem still has meaning and stays on message.
I finished a first draft and after reading to Ruthanne, while she was blown away we agreed that it needed something. That something became the –ize break. I read it out in Carleton Place as a try out and thought I was set for the CapSlam Semi-Finals.

Gutted.

I did a lot worse at the semis than I had expected and it was partly due to a weak response to this poem.
At first I was mad. I was told by a couple of people that it was just a bunch of rhyming words. That told me people weren’t listening to the meaning of the poem. (I realize that it is hard to follow every word, the general meaning should still be clear.)

Then I saw video of my performance.

Wow. It was awful. REALLY awful. The cadence was forced and my lack of confidence leaked all over the stage.

Ugh. It wasn’t the poem (necessarily). It was me.

So, some months later, I decided to dust off the poem and give it another go. This time I worked the performance a lot. It ended up a bit faster but with more variance in tone and some ‘mental breaks’ along the way to give the listener a break. (‘Hell no’, ‘fornication’, ‘translation’, ‘speculation’ etc.)

I gave it a new shot at the slam last week.

Now THAT is the reaction I had expected! People loved it, especially the poets!

I enjoy performing it… it is so NOT me, well still being me, if that makes any sense.

    Darwin’s Theory of Revolution

The question of civilization
Through convention
Or attributation of designation
Is no mere irritation.
Does adaptation come
Through Evolution or Revolution?
With the assumption
Of authentication
Many nations have
Confused causation
With justification.
The brutalization of the
Population may end with
Castigation by the
United Nations,
But any reaction to militarization
Or decimation is countered
By the bureaucratization
Of delegitimization.
So it is the mobilization
Of the population that
Will push democratization
Or any other designation
Appropriate to the denunciation
Of election aberrations.
Whether emancipation or
Federalization of faction
Function germination,
Humanization is
Idealization.
So is inflammation and
Intervention necessary for
Legitimization of Revolution?
Is change just resolution
Of modifications
With mitigation by modernization?

HELL NO

True Evolution comes through
Cerebration and the
Dissemination of knowledge
Normalization across the
Generations.
The resolution of fertilization
(Through fornication without
Contraception) with a
Saturation of positive
Perpetuation of unification
Pollinization
Leads to victimization truncation.

Translation:
The valuation of transformation
Beats the temptation of
Intervention.
The resolution of mental
Evolution will put
Any collection of nations
Into syncopation
And the stigmatization of
Sublimation will face
Correction or stagnation.

Of course this is all just
Speculation as it will take
Generations of education
And the solidification of
Retention selection.
But if the absorption of
Socialization rationalization
Leads to rejuvenation
Then the restoration of
Excitation will be no exaggeration.
It will take perspiration
And organization exasperation
But frustration exemplification
Forces examination
And the exculpation of
Expectations.
The exaction of erudition
Leads to detribalization
And dysfunction castration.

If you aggrandize
Convenient lies
And categorize
College tries
The logic will circularize
Until you conceptualize the prize
And destabilize or idealize
While we prioritize the deep flies.
My attempts to lyricize
These brain-wave spies
Might mechanize rather than
Maximize
As long as it doesn’t
Monopolize our mental ties.

Excuse the editorialization
But it’ll be
Revelation and
Celebration.
Revolution in the form
Of civilization
Evolution.

Exultation & ovation

Rusty’s CapSlamReCapNovEd

Posted: November 7, 2011 in Uncategorized
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A full recap is up at the Capital Slam Blog, as always, but here is my version…

I wrote a new poem. More details about it will be in my next post (when I actually post the piece), but in short… it is a piece that I wrote back in March, prepping for the CapSlam end of season, and then discarded it temporarily. It just wasn’t what I was looking for.
Jump forward some months and after going to CFSW I had some ideas on how to fix that poem up.
I did it. I liked it. I decided to slam it.

I worked on memorizing the piece and was originally planning to slam it on Nov. 4th. Then, with about a week to go, I got really sick. I missed a couple days of work and my memorization schedule was way off. I started to think I would have to wait and do it on Nov. 19th, but then the piece started to fall into place. With a couple of days to go, I had it memorized and just had to start polishing it.
Then I got sick again. A bit of a relapse.

Still… I had it. I was sure of it.

We got to the venue and I did my set-up. Ruthanne was on point, so a lot of the pressure was off. There was a film crew there, doing a piece on Zhomkonto, so I made sure they were okay and then went off to run through my poem.

Crash and burn. I couldn’t get a clean runthrough no matter what I did. I was distracted and stressed and I could get nothing. I fought through until I figured it was the best I could do and went back in for the show.

I argued back and forth with myself about whether I would pull it off or whether it would be a disaster.

I was lucky enough to draw late and I actually ran through bits of the piece while other people were performing (in my head, obviously) but not too much, because I wanted to hear the poetry.

Then I went up.

Perfect. No slip ups at all. The energy was there, the content was there. The crowd dug it. I get the right Ooos and Aaahs at the right points.

Awesome.

By the way… the new piece is called ‘Stroll On’. More about it in my next post.

In the second round I did The Stranger. Now, I KNEW that wasn’t the ‘right’ piece to do. What was scoring well was intensity and The Stranger is pretty low key, but this fits in with my new (old) philosophy. I do the poems I want to do and who cares about the scores. 🙂

I did well again. I got third, behind Synonymous and Loh El. Good company.

Lots of fun and a new poem!

The Duncameron Is Coming

Posted: August 11, 2011 in Uncategorized
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The trigger for my new project has dropped. This will take… years, probably.

Watch for a change on this site – a special page where you can follow my progress.

A writing challenge that is 100 POEMS LONG.

I first read about the challenge that inspired this one at Vancouver Poetry House.

Now THAT challenge (doing 100 poems in a row without repeating at the slam) was not one I was interested in taking on. I find that it takes me a couple of performances to even really feel a good poem.

As the challenged progressed, though, I saw a Vancouver poet – whom I have never met, other than jumping onto a Skyped Birthday wish at CFSW last fall – providing a list of his poem names as he went. His name is Duncan Shields.

I became interested in the idea of using these poem TITLES as a springboard. Finally I decided to do it. I told Duncan, via message board, that when he reached 100 poems, I was going to start writing poems inspired by the TITLES of his 100.

As I said, I have never met Duncan, nor have I heard or read his poetry. (Once I decided to do this project, I avoided watching videos of him performing any of these poems.)

It will be interesting (to me at least) how our pieces will differ. I already have an idea for the first one and I would bet that Duncan’s poem ‘Beverage Lids’ is not about being a touring poet or about coastal fishermen.

Inspiration is a funny thing.

So, you can follow along here. I will be posting them in my regular blog as well as in a special page on the blog. If Duncan wants, we can post his poems after I do my version. That is his call.

Should be fun.

At the recent slam, a friend of poet Mia Morgan videotaped the proceedings. Here is my first round piece – Moving to Arizona.

After watching it, check out her channel. Lots of good stuff up there.

Oh, here is the print version.

Insomnia

Posted: June 13, 2011 in Uncategorized
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CONTEXT: March, 2011

I talked about it here.

Not a lot to add, since that gives the background on writing the poem.

I performed it for the first time at the Dusty Owl Anniversary Show. The reaction from the crowd led me to think the piece was better than I had thought.

This past weekend at the Capital Slam Finals, I had it as one of my four prepared poems and decided to do it in the second round.
Some people told me after that they were touched by it. That was nice.

    Insomnia

The silence of a house
Full of little sounds –
Each one a mystery of
Unnamed threats.
The bed is cold and barren –
Her place not abandoned,
Just not occupied
As opportunity keeps us
Separate.
The hour approaches 3
And sleep seems a
Memory from another lifetime,
A lifeline tethered loosely
Attaching me to a
Drifting cloud covered in
Sheep steeplechasing in the dark.
I start placing bets
But I lose interest
As my mind won’t leave
Me a loan.
My collateral is no good,
It is all damaged goods
From brainstem to stern
And I get that sinking feeling.
Everything is heavier in the dark.
I try writing poetry in my head
But it is all so morose
And the pages too porous
As they soak up my tears.
Sticks and stones
May break my bones
But a broken heart
Really hurts
As I fabricate
Reasons why she isn’t coming home.
Minutes pass
And the illogic of it
Stings like a rubber band
To the neck
But the weight sits
Like a brick
Never to be thrown
As I can’t find
A good enough reason
To be angry.
The curse of the self-aware
Is that all of your paranoia
Is laid bare.
And you can’t even
Revel in irrationality.
No weekend benders
That let you forget
Since there is nothing
Worth remembering.
There is a difference
Between sadness and
Depression
As one has no easily identifiable
Reason to prop up on a
Painter’s easel
To wallow and overcome.
Without reason it is so
Much worse.
Just like those who
Listen to the blues, and smile.
You are doing it wrong!
There is nothing worse
Than trying to fix
Something unbroken –
But you feel broken.
Hairline cracks across your skin
Behind your eyes and
Through your heart
As you hold it together
With habit and hope,
Watching out for that one
Sharp smack that will
Shatter illusions of wholeness.
If confidence was something
You could see mine would
Still be invisible
Or pushed aside by the
Spectre of failure,
Mostly imagined
But things are larger in
The dark.
I can hear them
Talking behind my back.
The voices coming
Through the walls and
Settling over me like a Halifax fog,
Full of sound and fury
Signifying whatever my
Animal brain insists upon.
Don’t ask me –
I just work here –
It is the fear that’s
Still in charge.
It lets me out during the day
Sometimes
But now it is approaching 4
And the day is far away.
I just wait and try
To forget
And try to remember
What it feels like
To be loved.