Tuesday, April 1, 2014

rideau

i hear the etching of these skates
onto the ice at Rideau Canal,
and i don’t know how to skate,

and i don’t know how to swim,
but i’ve been treading the surface for so long,
wildly flailing limbs about,
hoping for a floatation device 
to suddenly appear,

these states of water:
the condensation, sublimation, evaporation,
they all seem to reveal weakness.

over time, is that not what wears us down?
smoothness of rock,
erosion,
smoothness of bone.

i’ll find a way to glide across this surface,
with grace,
with style,
like i’ll find a way to swim,
like i’ll find a way to skate.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

plains

things can slip out of grasp
when you try to grip them tighter,
and it’s hard to see sometimes
so that’s why we use these lighters,
but the problem with fire,
is that we lack total control,
so we get used to the darkness
in our souls,

but i’m higher than that
which i try to hold,
and i’m meant for plains greater than here,
and there’s a ledge where i left you,
where you can choose to climb or jump,
but i won’t be near,
i’ll be what you said i might not be,
rightfully, inside of me,
there’s a light some see,
that you probably missed,
but there’s brightness to come,
a power in these fists,
that extends to these wrists,
and ascends into minds.

we pretend that we’re fine,
and let doubt and hate accumulate,
mix in envy and fear to the point that we break,
but what’s worse is that we miss the sound,
pretend that decline is a climb,
we settle on paths set out for us
and adjust expectation,
but there’s an elevation,
stairs in these stares,
those skeptical looks which you can step onto,
and over, and move beyond.

the struggle is the point
of these poignant songs,
we might never belong, 
and do things that are wrong,
but we’re strong, and resilient,
there’s heroes and there’s villains,
and instead of giving into latters,
and looking up to formers,
climb these ladders, 
move forward.

Monday, March 10, 2014

toronto

there’s a hum you hear at baseline
when you’re moving through the city,
even in the quiet corners,
you can hear it, no strain
or focus required, it’s that
same noise that exists at baseline
when you’re raised in the city,
one that continues once you leave,
and leaves you unsettled in
these country towns,

the buzz has associated thoughts,
anxieties, desires, the stillness
of this surface water hides
chaos underneath, there is
so much that is happening,
too much, the only time it
slows is when you let go,

but we reverberate with
rhythm, intrinsic,
any silence is transient,
there is always more to do,
the options stack and topple
over, and though that seems
a negative, these same
possibilities are the ones that
let us dream, large dreams
lit up with street spotlight,
capable of deafening those
unready for the sound.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

fork in the road

it’s here, where this path
has significantly different outcomes.

take one down towards waterfall,
let the moisture radiate up towards
your skin, let it permeate your clothing,
drink it in.

or climb forward towards cliff,
let the wind above, blow you
to the point of fear of falling over,
let the vantage point down allow you
to think you made the right decision,

was there a right decision?
or were we always set to lament the choice
we could have made?
some longing for what we could have had,
we find fault in all that’s in front of us.

i could have told you then how i felt,
but i waited for that perfect moment.

i could tell you now how i feel,
but that moment evades us still.

i cared for you more than these paths
could illustrate,
i cared for you more than this moist
soil which my hiking boots sink into,
or the air which feels so fresh and
invigorating, i cared for you on
another level, one that is beyond
frivolous choices.

i’ll to tell you about it,
soon.

Monday, February 24, 2014

swingset

sometimes i take criticism too lightly,
sometimes i don’t take it lightly enough,
sometimes my confidence knows no bounds,
at other times, it’s supplemented with… “stuff”,
seeking external validation to fill
a gaping hole that suddenly appears,
sucking like a vacuum,
until it disappears again.

sometimes i’m comfortable with centre stage,
eye contact, projection of voice,
sometimes i feel i’m an earlier age,
glasses, mushroom cut,
the last choice,

sometimes i binge, sometimes i purge,
i can inflict pain when i feel hurt,
i oscillate between human and superhuman
and subhuman,
an everchanging worth.

-

so we swing back and forth
as if we were children,
knees bent before leg extension,
flying ever higher,
we don’t need your push no more.

-

sometimes i’m able to navigate
these social interactions,
with the knowing hand of a sea captain,
amongst the crashing of waves,
other times, i put my foot in my mouth,
with a velocity that surpasses the speed of sound,
pushing upper limits,
they could have awards for that.

sometimes these words spill out so fast
that i can barely write legibly
(and i barely write legibly),
other times, this blank page bullies
with the veracity of that brian from grade 8,
(Screw You Brian)

sometimes i’m passionate,
capable of leading a team into the darkness
lacking a fear of mortality,
most times, i’m satisfied with a couch
and potato chips, reading wikipedia
pages of forgotten child stars
in the light of a marathon on netflix.

-

so we swing back and forth
as if we were children,
knees bent before leg extension,
flying ever higher,
we don’t need your push no more.

-

sometimes i have too many friends
to keep in contact with,
perceived frustration, i’m spread too thin,
at other times, i watch and refresh
status updates, waiting for notifications
if none, i delete them.

sometimes i’m able to forget you,
or pretend i don’t know you,
or not let you affect me,
at other times, i’m scrolling through
past texts, and write future texts
that you won’t see.

sometimes i feel like a poet,
writing poetry like a poet does,
sometimes i feel like a doctor,
having answers on prescription pads,
sometimes i feel like an expert,
i’ve got opinions worthy of listening to,
sometimes i feel like none of these,
and i wonder which side is true.

-

so we swing back and forth
as if we were children,
knees bent before leg extension,
flying ever higher,
we don’t need your push no more.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

2012

if the world ended in 2012 
then this is the afterlife,
we live as empty shells
in instagram captured nights,
empty shelves, adjacent to bedframe
where you wrapped her tight,
and captured light,
and felt alive,

until you didn’t again.

descending to dead-ends
and let’s just be friends
and let’s pretend that
there’s no difference,
and let’s wait for convenience,

but spirits, we float
with no direction or discretion,
we vaguely resemble professions
until final processions,
with posessions, so many objects
which we smudge fingerprints upon
and dream about, listening to songs
about being without,

ignoring within,

inside this posthumous body
is a heart that beats a pattern
based on memory and past recognition,
it speeds when i’m next to you
as it’s meant to do, in moments of truth,
it slows when it remembers
that it shouldn’t be beating at all,

i’ve felt gravity and electricity,
but we’re not governed by laws
of the physical world,
self-imposed shackles of who we once were
keep our feet on the ground,
and our voices silent.

there’s two ways of being,
you can fear the end,
or you can pretend,
that we’ve already ended.

liberation in the fact that
there are no consequences,

borrowed time playing
with the house’s money.
there’s so much we’re capable of doing
when we lose that fear of losing.

or depression in the fact that
there are no consequences,

all that we build and try to create
is just as fake and frivolous
as mayan-calendar-imposed deadline.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

lion’s gate bridge

you can lose sight
of the gravity
of decisions,
but it’s gravity
he relied upon
up on the lion’s gate bridge,

there’s four charts
where there were five,
there’s a blank line,
where there was a name,
there’s a family in mourning,
the paranoid text message
which remains as last words,

a plastic bag left of possessions,

you can second guess decisions
until the seconds get to hours,
but there’s no way to predict
such movements, though that’s
all we can try to do,
safety plans scrawled on
frivolous sheets of paper,

he had scars across his neck,
the last time his schizophrenia
overfilled a cup, spilling
across the surface,
shoddily hidden beneath a beard,
a shocking change to one so clean cut,

we spoke of his interests,
and though initially hesitant,
his tense body language lessened
when discussing the cars in his father’s garage
that he hoped to continue to restore,
his eyes lit up like
post-restoration high beams,

was he really intending to return?
passes from health-imposed holding cells
to allow him to continue his labour of love?
did he know that he was never going back?
or is he there now? in another dimension
on another plain?

the loss of life potential
is so much easier to accept
than this loss of a life,
his muscles were hidden and
only apparent in a photo of his past life,
smiling in a blue and yellow football jersey,
the star of his team.

a physical falling body
feels so much different
than our known downward spirals,
group home, addiction,
a life of psychosis,
antipsychotics,
dependance.

he knew the words to say,
or maybe we didn’t know
the questions to ask,

this pen sword,
this prescription pad shield,
are sometimes capable of slaying dragons,
or at least shrinking them to manageable size,
ones that can fit into pockets and be hidden.

at other times, this white coat,
is much like fencing outfit,
and this swordplay,
this effort,
is just a silly dance,
meaningless.

electives

there is a pattern in the way these lights dot the hills
on this road home from new brunswick,
as twilight falls,
before the darkness smothers this road,
there are memories here.
you can connect the dots of illuminated houses,
much like the stars that begin to appear.
the significance of both diminishes over this distance.

the cross on sign post indicating the loss of a life,
withering flowers beneath a metaphor for how this fades with time,
the crossed out rest stop sign indicating business decisions,
this road construction stunts this progress,
much like our internal eternal change.

add the factors that had to align for us to meet
along this temperate coast, where the snow has yet to fall,
recall the changes in flight time,
the taxi already filled with passenger forcing you to take that bus,
your decision to ignore detractors of rainy November Vancouver,
the reasons for us being here,
kilometres removed from labels of home.
is there a home here?

a constant question I ask myself in these interactions,
is there rest in your glance,
a place for a jetlagged clueless person
to find temporary relief?
is there comfort in your skin?
can you trace this ekg with fingertip and realize
that its rate increases like the velocity
of a comet in vicinity of overwhelming gravity?
that it’s rhythm,
when caught up in thoughts of you,
make the irregularities of atrial fibrillation
seem like the methodical circles of child with spirograph?

is that not what we chase with substances and substitutes?
all to recreate this joyous end of pursuit?
truth, contact, sparks, hearts,
i’ve taken apart seconds since the start and
i’ve searched for ways to put them in a better order,
i’ve spent these quarters to make another call,
another fall, another season,
i’ve got so many reasons to be here,
foremost, is that you’re near,
and that’s when my mind’s the most clear,
and i stop thinking of questions like:

do we eventually become what we fear?
will we eventually strain to hear? and see?
what becomes of currency?
and all that currently occupies?
is this all worth the prize?
is there a home in your eyes?
is there a size that i can attain
where you will see me from planes?
and you’ll remember this name?
(and learn its 7 syllables and 15 letters?)

silly questions, recollections, ignored suggestions,
they deplete, and it’s rest we seek,
respite beneath all interactions,
and that’s my attraction to you,
it’s that it’s true and that it’s present,
i’ve been so focused on futures and pasts,
making realities pass faster
than elementary school gym class,
or summers, or recess,
i’ve been stuck in recesses of my mind,

and that’s why i seek out poetry,
and that’s why i seek out yoga,
or foie gras, or travel to ottawa
to eat beaver tails on the rideau,
we need those deep breathing exercises,
gym memberships, art galleries,
false partnerships, high salaries,
they’re all ways to distract ourselves
from fallacies and allergies and
everything that is waiting to take
the rolling hills of twilight road trip
and dip them into black,

and that’s why i seek out you,

we get really scared of monsters in closets as children,
of the dark,
of the scars which may remain on a heart
but instead be scared of plans,
be scared of a vacant gaze,
be scared of being in this maze
with someone who isn’t there,
because that’s worse than when they don’t care,

focus, don’t let yourself get caught up,
it’ll happen, just stay in this,
i remember i used to stare into space
instead of into eyes,
thinking on next steps and past ones,
but I realize now
that a soul is what holds us together,
rather than unravel,
let us hold each other here,
actually here,
actually here as in
not worried about lines outside,
and the extra seconds the bouncer looked at your ID
as if you’ve changed so much in appearance so as to
not be who you once were, and whether that’s a positive or a negative,
not worried about the money in your pocket or a poet’s lack thereof,
words that were said and l’esprit de l’escalier,
doors and whether you’ve locked them,
there are irons and ovens on in your place,
there are basins filling over from faucets, spilling onto
green mats which shouldn’t have been purchased.

there is someone who can illustrate your face
and add some emotion, and it’s you,
don’t let yourself be a boardwalk caricature,
or a blur, don’t be a 2d concept of who you think you should be,
don’t let mug shot sketch artists tell you differently,

just be.

we are forever traveling,
can we travel together?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

we won’t stop (i thought i told you that)

wondering why i’ve got this urgency,
all that i yearn to be is right in front of me,
i’ve maintained courtesy to nth degree,
and now it’s my turn to go out and get it,
so i run full speed like towards the 45 kipling bus
when we were seventeen, and we saw it rolling up,
yeah i’ve got issues with trust,
yeah i’ve got issues with lust,
spontaneously combust, need no lighter
for this fire, we aim higher
than thought possible,
white coats, donned in hospitals,
expectations, we’ve got lots to fill,
we get lost at will, i’ve seen lots of real
turn fake, pile too much onto plates,
too much emphasis on fate,
this is our place, this our time,
this is our shine, and it’s not
dependent on jewelery or sunlight,
this is within, this is from soul,
this is from cell, this is nucleus,
this is realness, i can’t appeal to this
demographic, i used to think i couldn’t hack it,
but the fact is we’re all actin,
they’re all actors, where we act sure,
when we lack cures, where we act like
we all rap tight, when we lack right,
this aint black and white, this is real life,
this is the discarded blue boxes
of blockbuster videos, this is
thrown out mixtapes containing
high school flows, this is home phones,
this is loonies spent on speakers corner segment,
this is respite, these are my confessions
there are still lessons to learn,
used to burn all my mistakes,
but the only way to elevate
is to criticize, so now i analyze,
realize that our demise
is ongoing, foreclosing, impending,
but the ending is still under revision,
make each decision, with finality
don’t underestimate gravity,
levity and brevity are dead to me,
we grew up on mase and diddy,
so forgive me if i act hypocritically,
you’ve yet to see, the best of me,
this isn’t just a test to me,
this is everything, this is all of me,
all i want to be, is satisfied,
keep these struggles in perspective
with the end in mind.

Monday, January 6, 2014

snow day

there’s a second hand
and it ticks and it ticks,
in one direction,
always forward,
and we think and we think,
you can get lost in time,
and realize that we’re spinning
quickly unraveling,
dizziness increasing,
until we stop,
and tip, like top 
on table,

but these surfaces
lack smoothness and continuity,
in the span of a breath
or blink, we can
become lost
and come undone,
leaving only a trail
of remainders,
reminders of what once was,

whether that’s love
or career, or child,
or poetry, or facebook
wall, with a still remaining
list of likes and wall posts,

as we move from physical
to digital, is that all that
will remain? future people
creating caveman drawings with
0’s and 1’s, to prove that we
existed and spun amongst
others, always spinning,
until we stopped?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

love/happiness

it’s the human condition,
to want the one thing,
that we can’t buy.

we’re all contradictions,
we overthink,
we undertry.

seeking permission,
we ignore and hide
all that’s inside.

lacking the friction,
we slide.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"you want to do psychiatry?"

with this stethoscope
i can hear one’s heart,
otoscope for eardrum
opthalmoscope for eyes,
i can see and hear
and feel for that
which shouldn’t be there,

we can take x-rays,
ct scans and mri’s,
to look beneath
superficial skin
and determine abnormalities,

that which floats
in blood can be broken
down and analyzed,
numbers spat out on
on sheets of paper,
like stock reading
or gift receipt,

but meet me here
and let us talk,
give me only pen
to jot these notes,
and let me try to help
like only certain few can.

there’s a sentiment,
a stigma that this is somehow below,
but what’s more difficult
than using only the tools
with which we began?

Monday, December 30, 2013

denial

we’ve got salt ready for ice storms,
sandbags ready for floods,
bomb shelters and panic rooms,
shields ready for love.

we fight to keep this life alight,
flickering flames
unaware of diminishing wax,
our guards against attacks,
we hope to finish last,

we view this as marathon,
where to win,
we must solely survive,
eyes on the prize,
regardless of price,

we run from destinations,
put off vacations,
seek operations,
conserve resources,
take additional courses,
we force it.

for tools,
for defenses.

hakuna matata tattoos,
carpe diem bumper stickers,
we’re nostalgic for innocence,
and fetishize ignorance,

the worst disaster of all,
is that we think it’s not a choice.

Monday, December 16, 2013

l’esprit de l’escalier

these selfies have left us selfless,
i’ll try my best not to remain helpless,
i swore that you felt this,
i swore i saw it in your eyes
when you fell quick,
this shelf life is diminishing,
we’re far from finishing,
this wealth is all we’ve got to
show for all this, no knowledge,
no street smarts, this street art
is all i can use to explain,
this city has so much more,
find me in a bicycle lane,
spinning wheels in the rain,
find me at the corner
of ossington and queen,
and i’ll show you what i mean,
we spend half our life in dreams,
and spend so much of our time awake
and calculate and contemplate
and complicate, on these dates
i find errors in what i do say,
and think of things that i should say,
l’esprit de l’escalier,
find me going the other way
on one way streets,
i can count the ways that we
can choose to defeat, ourselves,
i rock these bells
on a speak and spell,
this cell phone’s a cell,
this facebook’s a hell,
find me at a monument,
actually paying attention to what im doing,
find me at a restaurant,
actually eating what i’ve ordered,
find me in front of a tv,
actually watching law and order, SVU,
with no need to tell you,
no need to tell the world,
no need to stare at these girls,
that i should be with,
or think on things like how i should be rich,
or how i should be this,
or how i should be that,
i write too many should be raps,
when i should just laugh,
we’re so privileged to even be able to complain,
i’ve looked down from planes at the
way these lights stretch out like patchwork,
i’ve pushed down gas pedals
when you screamed out faster,
i’ve taken trains through tunnels in the mountains,
and mounting debt is all thats left,
and that’s ok,
we can worry about pay another day,
we can worry about worries another day,
we can worry about the things we’ll say or
have said until we’re half dead
until we’re mid-life, it’s only midnight,
it’s only been like, a couple years since it’s
actually been right, we can’t see the shine
until we’re in light, so wait for me here
until i adjust this spotlight just right.

Monday, December 9, 2013

shawn was here

we’ve got the faded stamps
of forgotten nightclubs
on the inside of our wrists,
this life of emotion and experience
only exists in a mind that’s intangible,
don’t let the factual speak of neuroscience,
there’s so much more to this than axonal
impulse, serotonin, dopamine.
there are worlds in between 
those words you said to me,
there’s perception and hypotheses, 
there’s proven model and double blind studies,
but there is nothing more specific than existence,
there’s nothing more complex or persistent
than the plains we occupy, 
during this life and the life afterwards,
it’s a curse to know how little we know,
we spend a lifetime looking up at the stars,
lying down in the snow, basking in their glow,
hoping to one day shine with such brilliance,
but what of a star’s desire? what of the
blind unknowingness of fire,
they should envy us.

what of they way they had to align
for you and i to be here,
laughing over the missed opportunities of last night?
where will these memories reside?
in some gray matter surrounded by white matter,
or is it something more?
we speak so much of a heart,
we let volumes accumulate
about the love we have within them, 
but that’s just muscle,
stubbornly pushing blood and oxygen forward,
simple, bundles of fibres firing in unison,
there’s more to this union,
more than even a brain could contain,
there’s a pattern in this rainfall, and i’ve
wiped the moisture from your upper lip with my thumb,
followed it with my tongue, followed it with my mind,
there’s a place inside where i will always be able to find
you, regardless of whether i can speak
or need or want or have
or laugh or breathe.

the only proof it will have happened will be here, 
the only proof we will have happened will be here, 
we spend our childhoods reading history pages, 
but there’s so much more to this than what our name is, 
or what their name was, whether you’re famous for
the sake of doing something worth remembering, 
or because you constantly wrote your name out in block lettering,

SHAWN WAS HERE

yelling it out so that it was beyond forgetting,
you will be forgotten
and thats ok,
there’s more to this than memory.