Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Hanna Mulla

I relish poets who are constantly pushing boundaries within their work... just like the elegant pieces below penned by Hanna Mulla.


My mother tells me I have my fathers eyes. And his
nose. But most of all his face shape. She says the last
statement with furrowed brow, a sentiment not
unnoticed by me.
I gaze in the mirror and see a face round like the full
moon, wholesome, a canvas of stoicism. Memory of
my mothers slight frown makes me caress my skin,
trace my own features and wonder if I wouldn't be
prettier with a longer face.
In the Persian culture the moon ranks as the highest,
if not the ultimate epitome of beauty.
'Mahrokh', literally moon face, is a term of adoration,
afforded with affection, a compliment of
commendation.
I berate myself. Knowing such, how could I possibly
not fall in love with splendour of this degree.
I will never apologise to anyone for the softness of my
cheeks nor the framework of lines flowing from
hairline to earlobe or the dimples in my chin.
If anything I will love myself fiercely, splendidly, ten
times over,
to the moon and beyond.

Each of us has familial or cultural traits that are quietly expressed by the lines on one's face and texture of skin that at times we might come to detest. For example – I've always grown up abhorring my nose – in high school my nickname was Gonzo because of its slight hook. There are characteristics that we all exhibit in which we wish at some point or another were different. But for better or worse this is who we are from the beginning of our life right to our last breath. We can't make ourselves feel better over what it is we detest, we can only accept and decide to love and adore ourselves completely and wholly regardless of what our outside figure exposes our inner core to. I like that this specific piece above makes no apologies for the characters outside appearances only that self acceptance at one point or another through the course of our lives is inevitable.  I found the level of emotion put into this piece to be quite thoughtful and tenderly layered. 

We are nothing short of
miracles when we bleed seven
days straight,
red elixir marking our inner
thighs.
Since the beginning of time, the
ability to harbour and nurture
entire galaxies between our hips
has been something of a
phenomenon.
Shedding it is no less easy.


I love the boldness of this piece above, it reminds me of artists who use period blood as paint to draw with. Such depth and miraculous favour in what women have to endure each month, as much as a blessing that it is – it's also tremendous pain and anguish once per month for decades until it dries out to a state of nothingness. It's true though, as Hanna so elegantly says above.

Since the beginning of time, the
ability to harbour and nurture
entire galaxies between our hips
has been something of a
phenomenon.”

Can you imagine such a premise – since the beginning of time – a time that not many can conceptualize through their mind but there at one point or another millions of years ago there was a beginning of time that had been created. And, from the dawn of that time on,  humanity woman have had to deal with the discomfort of using at first thick pads that have transitioned to tampons and thin pads – evolution is constantly occurring for feminine high gene products. Women are the givers of birth and the nurtures as well. I supposed in some way we do carry “entire galaxies between our hips...” that's such a cool way of looking at it... Just think of how large a galaxy is and the potential it has to grow from micro to a macro piece worthy of earthly collaboration to protect the women of our world.


The poets have gone to town and painted the
walls red.
They've burned down the skies and pulled out
faith from every pothole.
We've clawed at wings and written epics about
the screaming and the sudden emptiness.
We turned our backs on God, cloaked ourselves
in darkness and demanded attention anyway.
When the ash finally settled like a noose of
shame we held our breaths to hear Gods
footsteps treading lightly, carefully amongst our
desecration.
With tears in our eyes, we asked if he would have
us back.
And through closed lids,
I felt him smile


Poets write and express themselves through their pieces, frankly because that is our wheelhouse the one place we can rest in solace and create. Through vast imaginations one can strive to a world that is accountable to everyone. One where darkness has no business being cloaked or brooding in the corner but does so because it has no other choice. Similar to the consequence of turning our faces against those who desecrate our hearts in their wake. We are free spirits who strive to live their life to the fullest amount of mirth left from an ice cream sundae or our demise at the end of a bottle. Either way it will be the self preservation and light of forgiveness that will keep our haunted writings as hallowed pieces of delectable delights on earth.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

K. Iwanicki

The work of K. Iwanicki is: beautiful, heart wrenching & indeed quite profound... 

It's always circles-
everything comes in them,
leaving out the front door
only to be back at its threshold
moments later.

These feelings from my past-
keep manifesting
the same reactions
like clockwork-
my body anchored down,
hooked deeply beneath the mantle
of this familiar life
while-
my mind soars high
amidst the stars
bouncing
from past to future.

And here I sit,
telling the same tale
that I've told
so many times before-

It's the serpent eating it's tail.

I've always relished the conceptual image of an ouroboros. At one point or another throughout the course of our lives we are destined to allow our psyche to genuinely eat us alive. See that's the funny notion about circles, a single infinite loop with no end and no beginning. Yet, an ouroboros has a beginning and an end but chooses to repeatedly eat it's tail -- one perfect and concise circle. There is something infinitely profound with regards to the philosophy of symbols used throughout time -- a circle always seems to be forever looping as we do during our lives. The end really appealed to me:

And here I sit,
telling the same tale
that I've told
so many times before-”

How many times do we tend to repeat old stories, the stanza above reminds me of a comfortable couch at the ready to accept a hearty story worthy of laughs and tears.


*Minor Perturbation*

You are no longer here
but you certainly
left an impression.

Like a pertinacious wine stain
or nervous sickness
that sinks deep
in my system
sitting dormant
at the base of my spine.

Just when I've forgotten
that you ever existed
you float to the surface
and show up
uninvited
at two a.m.
and wake me up,
our sadistic ritual

So I lie there
for a moment
until a memory of you
flutters through my mind
but doesn't stick around
it just dissipates
like the flapping
of butterfly wings
ephemeral
and delicately negligible
yet it's effects can still be felt
all these years later.

There was one time after I'd studied Macbeth in Secondary school I'd spilled grape juice all over my mother's pristine white berber carpet – while I wiped I clearly remember saying Come outdamned spot! Out, I command you...” Yes, I was that obsessed with Shakespeare as an awkward teenager as much as I am now. While I scrubbed I kept thinking about the heinous act that brought Lady Macbeth to repeatedly wash her hands. 

No one ever enjoys the thought of uninvited guest they are beyond intrusive for words. The way K. Iwanicki expresses her disdain and disgust over this consistent obsessive call.

Just when I've forgotten
that you ever existed
you float to the surface
and show up
uninvited
at two a.m.
and wake me up,
our sadistic ritual

A truly painful truth we tend to forget...

*Disillusioned Oath*

We used to be so close,
now you only turn away,
you wont look me in the eye,
you wont even say my name.

We used to be so close,
playing games
and running round,
we would laugh
and we would cry,
only love
was to be found.

We used to be so close,
as close as any two can be,
our blood lines share
the same ancient line,
one that circles
and comes back
to you and me.

Now your veins
have dried and cracked,
all the love has disappeared,
your once joyful light
snuffed out
by inconstant
moody years.

How I ache
for your return
for your smile to come back
for our love to flow once more
for my brother
to come back.


One thing that I've instilled into my children that was not well expressed to me is that my kids only have each other if something were to happen to myself or my husband. Blood should be thicker than water but; then again we are not able to convince the world of things they should or should not be doing – however when it comes to family. Family should never turn it's back on you but; in some instances they do – where you feel alone and alienated from those who you would expect would be there for you for years to come – abandon at the drop of a hat. I genuinely felt the words of this beautiful poem above – I don't know how anyone could read such a beautiful piece of literature and just not want to weep.  

Monday, 8 May 2017

Melodee Korff

And so it continues with the fabulously emotive work of Melodee Korff... I've been following Melodee now for sometime and am constantly impressed by the myriad of images which come to fruition with the breath upon her ink. See for yourself...

Love me like you’re drunk,
Like you fucking mean it,
Like you won’t leave me guessing
For one more moment.
Love me like you want me,
Like you damn well need me,
Like you don’t know the meaning
Of subtlety.
Love me like you own me,
Like you’ve fought to get me,
Like you want to keep me
For all of eternity.
Love me like you’re mine,
Like you want the world to know it,
Like we are only dreaming
With our eyes wide open.
Love me like you're desperate,
Like you can't live without me,
Like you're going crazy
Without my kisses.
Love me like the gloves are off,
Like we’ve never been broken,
Like I leave you tipsy
With every word between us.
Come on and dare to love me!

Have you ever loved some one so much that you constantly desire for them to consistently consume you. In terms of love -- I believe we all have that one person who is destined to be the great love of our life. The one to completely obliterate our heart and love it at the same time – as most certainly with passion -- also provides intense conflict stitched within some semblance of self dignity. Because, there is not love alone – in relations that deal with matters of the heart. Hate normally makes an appearance throughout the duration of that love as we can simultaneously love/hate those closest to us – even when we want them to pay attention and acknowledge us fully through outs that are not false – only true passion.


The One

Maybe I'm not the one.
Maybe I'm just one.
One wave trapped in the ocean of your heart.
One path for you to take to make you into the man
you need to be for the one you'll end up with.
And that's perfectly alright.
See, I made a promise to you.
A promise I could keep without crossing my
fingers behind my back.
A promise without pinkies or paperwork.
A promise I sealed with nothing but a kiss.
I promised you that one day you'd see yourself
through my eyes
And you would fall madly in love
And I'll be damned if I don't keep that promise to you.
Because even if I'm not THE one,
Even if I'm just one,
I'm going to be one that leaves your heart better
off than how I found it.

Matters of the heart can indeed be tricky morsels of a life --  we are destined to live especially if it benefits another. People enter our lives during various moments and at times we cement memories concealed only in evil steeped with emotion--  where things could potentially end terribly. Broken hearts ensconce you with a blanket not even big enough to cover you in comfort. I firmly believe that every single individual who enters your life does so for a purpose. Some become lifelong companions. Others eviscerated from your heart in a manner that would make Chernobyl simply appear to be a camp fire burred deep in the woods of our hope and delight. I guess at the end of the day those memories that we hold inside of our core burst with pride or ones that struggle away with evil cores left. There will always be people who you've loved more --  who you'd hope are still in your life but are clearly not meant to be for some reason or another.

Long Abandoned Church

The church once a beacon of hope upon the hill
Sat quaintly in the Winter's quiet and still
Its doors abandoned long ago
Yet her lost soul came searching
searching, searching
Her lost soul came searching for answers to know

The road once well travelled was overgrown
With seeds of doubt that had been sown
The journey proved tiresome for her frail heart
Yet her feet kept trekking
trekking, trekking
Her feet kept trekking towards a fresh start

She climbed through mountains of sorrowful
downpours
Until she reached the now darkened doors
She bent her knees in despair
And her trembling head she bowed
bowed, bowed
Her trembling heads she bowed in prayer

She cried out for hope and healing
The strength to go on through life dealing
She prayed for forgiveness for her skin
And the guilt began lifting
lifting, lifting
And the guilt began lifting letting hope in

So many images come to mind upon proper reflection of this poem. I'm reminded of the origin story of Medusa before she had been cursed by Athena. How she had gone into a sacred place and instead of being left alone to pray had been viciously raped by Poseidon. Can you imagine the one place you go to for solace sealed a fate worse than death. Destined to never feel the fresh touch of what it means to genuinely feel loved?

Another image that comes to mind is a book by one of my favourite writers like EVER... Paulo Cohelo wrote a book called By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept the main character is torn between loving someone she had known since she was young and letting them go to freely do the work they were put on the earth to do. There is such a profound and poignant love there --  that I believe can be understood fully by the scribe of this piece...

Religious or not, there is something to be said about hallowed ground and exactly what it represents – the old lone and creaking church consumes me with feelings of both hope and despaire – what does it consume you with?

Sunday, 7 May 2017

the sacrament of poetry

did you ever want to write
something down on a piece
of paper -- style is of no consequence
as long as it falls into the category
of poetry. that moves you into
a complete state of emotional
disharmony – to the point
that writing is the only
sacrament offered
to you in church

-- the sacrament of poetry
is one the ensures each
individual on this earth
is able to properly express
themselves through phrases
and not through physical
agitation.   

Monday, 1 May 2017

Gus Sanchez

I must admit upon first read my strong sense of advocacy constantly screams “YES” while I viewed the poems below. As most of you know who follow the blog, I have a background in Social Services and a large part of that really is steeped in advocacy. Today's showcase is based on the profound work of Gus Sanchez.

someday science will allow us men to
have a period, and to experience the
agonizing pain of childbirth, someday
us men will understand the terror of
sexual harassment. rape. physical and
emotional abuse from a husband or
boyfriend that doesn't know what love is.
someday us men will understand what it's
like to earn far less while doing the same
job, and vow to break the glass ceiling,
and be treated as an equal and not just
a bitch in skirt. someday us men will
fell first hand the revoltion that comes
when you're first attacked online, just for having
an opinion, to know how being called a whore
or a cunt or “i hope bill cosby rapes you
next” makes a woman feel violated

because these women are your mother and
your sisters and your wives and your
girl friends

until these roles are reversed, you're just
a crybaby with a dick, and the world needs
more men

You know, someone once said to me if men could get pregnant than birth control would be free? Do you guys think that is true as well? Gender roles have come along way towards equality although we are not completely there yet. I really have no idea what it is going to take in the year 2017 for equality to actually reign. When I grew up, I thought men were supposed to be the strong silent type who could care less about women's rights. If memory serves one such male that crossed my path severely -- omitted the strong silent supportive type and was quite loud when he was expressing his views on women. Such as -- a women should be shackled at her ankles with a chain long enough to reach from the bedroom to the kitchen and in a constant state of barefoot and pregnant. That does not fly with me. Like men -- women have important roles to play in today's society and ours is steeped in ending gender inequality. So remember that the next time you ridicule a women who could've just as easily been your: sister, mother, aunt or cousin!

discarded post-it notes
words with no meaning strewn
across a cluttered desk

a cluttered desk: sign
of a cluttered mind
(what does that say
about an empty desk?)

sun-kissed palazzos?”
cocaine-soured sunday mornings,
restless for requiems never
delivered?”
no time for silence?”

filling these gaps is
torture for
unbalanced minds, not ready to

resort to cheap sentiment in
exchange for faceless and
undeserved approval.

I don't know about you but as we age our minds slowly start to deteriorate – we have to constantly post reminders. I've been in love with minutia since the beginning of my life – my desk has always been cluttered with post it's – to be frank it is one of the many ways that I keep organised. I have these round post it notes all over my monitor some could think I could have a hearty game of connect the dots – if i wanted my screen to be all marked up with permanent marker.


i'm too old and too
tired to get
lost in your mock outrage
pokemon go fuck yourself

i'm too tired and too
old to make you
see how stupid you sound

all lives matter hahahahahahahaha

my bags of tricks have gone
empty, the firefighters won't bother
putting out this
shit storm we have started

fake it 'til you make it...

i'm too old and too tired to be
too old and too tired:
my knees hurt – arthritis,
are you fucking kidding me?

One more hour of sleep, please?
And a new typewriter; she's
writing some debbie downer shit again.

Oh my good god! Bloody Pokemon Go! I remember during the summer there was a media article on the television highlighting Pokemon Go as the summer activity especially down by the water front near Toronto's boat terminal. Apparently people would gather at all times of the night – no word of a lie some individuals had their babies sleeping in strollers while there were hunting Pokemon at 2:00am... Yes, because that is exactly where a baby should be at that hour... with their psychotic care takers playing Pokemon Go.


If you notice not once did I mention writing style or form because to me this is very close to perfection in my eyes. Honest material written with such vigor. An advocate against any darkness for sure with stupendous syntax and grammar to boot. 

 Feel free to follow Gus and his unadulterated views here...

Thursday, 27 April 2017

horror

my first experience with the realm
of horror movies -- was during my last
year of elementary school

one night, during our grade eight graduation class
trip to quebec city, my friends and i had decided
to rent a vcr and a video from the hotel.
the selection was indeed limited
-- it being the first time we were all away
from home -- no one could contest our decisions
-- as our teachers did not care -- as long
as we behaved.

in fact one night the entire class had attended
dinner at a local greek restaurant where our guardians
had been offered alcohol --  needless to say two of the three
did not drink so one of our caretakers downed three
shots one right after the other of flamin'
zambooka

i clearly remember the experience
because every single time i see a pair
of lips i am reminded of a nightmare on elm
street 3: dream warriors & fiery coffee beans floating
on a shot glass pool of alcohol. The film was about a bunch
of patients in a mental ward -- one was an addict with streak
marks up and down his arm... well freddie decided
he would turn his finger knives into syringes
-- in lieu streak marks lips made an appearance
with both a puckery sound and movement.
it creeped me out in a fashion -- that when
i start to discuss it -- the hairs on my arms
start to rise as they are right now too bad
this is a poem otherwise i could have taken
a picture – but i think you get the idea.

needless to say, one experience
which has remained seared in my core
-- brought on i'm sure from that snippet
of stand by me i caught on the television

this past weekend. 

Monday, 17 April 2017

Anthony Desmond

With each review I write, I'm finding more appreciation for words and how they are phrased within individual poems. Just like that of today's poet Anthony Desmond...

Strap

I bathe in a washtub
surrounded by grass and weeds.
I take buckets of water,
pour them over my head
and act as if a God
is purifying my sins
but these riches are
damned by the poorest
of bastards with souls
as cold as the leather
they wish their daddies
beat them with.
They learned pain is love,
and I ain't talkin' bout the
sting of discipline.

Such luscious language and imagery is strongly associated with this piece – I could almost smell the grass and the weeds. It's quite powerful indeed when one allows their senses to take over when reading a piece of poetry that leaves you to just genuinely think. I found this particular section to be especially soul nourishing:

I take buckets of water,
pour them over my head
and act as if a God
is purifying my sins
but these riches are
damned by the poorest
of bastards with souls

Water is often utilized as a purification medium – it really does give one pause to think about what it really means to be baptized and how that symbolic sacraments truly are with regards to the growth we face as humans. I can clearly see how one would think pouring buckets over their head to be an act of God – in that action you could not exclusively be cleaning your body but your soul as well. A physical purification of an emotional act. Quite profound indeed!

Hands

You brush your hair in the evenings
Humid curls with every stroke
as if moist fingers tousled your locks.
You say it's the damp heat
in our room, so I turn on the AC
and enjoy this sky blue fiddle.
She walks to the kitchen counter,
her robe half open; he admires a peek
of her breast, as she goes about her
business. Yet shudders at the depths of
life and death between her legs.
If I would've surrendered like
a civilian told to throw the white flag
in the trenches, my reward would
proudly be a house with too many
bathrooms and a bed that's just
for me, to sleep.

I like this poem because it really does offer a slight video of what someone's life could potentially look like from the confines of their own dwelling. For some reason, I really have no idea why but it is propelling me to think like this – can you see this snapshot captured with words taking place either first thing in the morning or right before bed at night. This time does certainly not strike me as a middle of the day scene. Now, come to think of it – this piece could easily reference an evening routine...


Guardian

You never wore shoes
and I waited for you
to dip your feet in the water,
leaving a trail for me
to follow like a loved one
gone too soon.
I floated on the thought
of you alone, singing
the lonely lover's call
as a vulture over
freshly killed prey.

Why is it that when the water is cold we have the instinct to directly put our toes in and not just jump right on it. There are indeed dangerous things in the water as are on land however it seems more dramatic to use water for this purpose over land.

I kept reading this section repeatedly:

I floated on the thought
of you alone, singing
the lonely lover's call
as a vulture over
freshly killed prey.


I'm reminded of the Sirens from the ocean how they would lull the men on their ships into a strong slumber – in order for them to ensure a properly crashed boat. I wonder what one would consider to be the vulture over of the ocean? One which lingers on freshly killed prey ready to be devoured – leaves one feeling completely satisfied if you ask me as our world has always and will always survive by the old adage of only the strong survive. 

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

R.Z. Joyce

My next showcase R.Z.Joyce has no compunction ruffling a few feathers by saying on her Instagram last week; that if she was a male and had written a poem like the one that was showcased she would have like a gazillion followers. I'd never really given much thought to gender with regards to poetry. Do women have to work harder in this realm to be considered equals? In fact just this past week while I was inputting Cockroach Blueprint Anthology submissions I'd noticed that one of my contributors was a female who signed her name with that of a male. It's definitely a dialogue worth exploration. This subject certainly does offer more than a slight amount of food for thought.

There's a stillborn in Brazelton,
Warm yet,
with a definitive lack of first breath,
and a heartbreak that only was a moment.
It's a sad day for the rugby match too
As the ground knows the reason
For loss
and a frostbitten morning sky
Chewed and digested
with unbuttered toast and cold coffee
reminds us how grey
is the color of regret.

I can't imagine what having a stillborn baby would even begin to feel like – I think it to be probably one of the most traumatic things a woman can go through. I imagine the recovery from something like that -- would be at half past never. The careful way in which R.Z. layered this touching piece is quite poignant indeed. When there is absence of colour, a monochromatic palette takes over and transference to grey is quite the relatable mood when an instance of horror has occurred in one's life. I must admit I think this piece is carefully crafted – the way R.Z. Speaks of a “stillborn in Brazelton” and how “it's a sad day for the rugby match too” tying everything to the “the colour of regret.” All three aspects strongly featured within these words – as emotive as one can get when describing incidents that render grey aura's during moments of intimate turmoil.


I didn't mean to die that day
As the sands drew down
And the tar sap oozed in the heat.
There was nothing more for me to do there
But I almost forgot to breathe
And the breeze didn't cool off
anything at all.
A year later I wrapped my car around a
pole.
I said I had a foot cramp
But that was a different matter.
On this day as I sat on the mossy rock
Turning it over and over in my hands
The metal wasn't even cold
With my dress sticky on the backs of my
thighs
And my temples dripping...
There was nothing more for me to do there
But I stayed.

I wonder how Dali would have painted an accident in the heat of the sun the way he did his clocks. Would they drip with sweat and fall as one dimensional painted beings would? When I read the piece above, I thought of a wayward soul that had no idea they'd just died – how they would rest closest to the scene of whatever accident ended their life – in a state of constant confusion. I must admit I personally relished the lines below:

I didn't mean to die that day
As the sands drew down
And the tar sap oozed in the heat.
There was nothing more for me to do there
But I almost forgot to breathe
And the breeze didn't cool off
anything at all.

I just love the casual way R.Z. Joyce starts this poem – so matter of fact especially with something as heavy handed as death. Indeed, once again more subjects to ponder upon. 

Bring me the writer that rambles at night.
The one who is sick and whose words are contrite
Bring me the stumbled, the accident prone
The ones who drink often because they're alone
Bring me the words of a bruised barren soil
The tracts now gone sallow
The till and the toil
But sweep them all downward
And brush them away
They're crumbs, they're husked sweepings
They're compost and hay
The dust of their musings
ne'er blind my bright eye
Le me tamp down the embers
Of swathe burnt ripe rye.

I was reminded of a scene from one of my favourite stories by Oscar Wilde called The Happy Prince. The story was about this statue of a prince, who stood in the centre of town tall and proud able to see all of his subjects suffer. He'd decided that he could offer respite to them while they struggle in their daily lives by asking a little swallow to deliver gold or jewels to each of those who required aid. One of these beings the Happy Prince and asked the swallow to remove sapphires from the eyes of the prince once the gold had been peeled off of his statue to give to a playwright. Enough to buy some wood for his fire and food for his belly in order to finish a play by luna's light and that of a fresh fire in the place.

Bring me the writer that rambles at night.
The one who is sick and whose words are contrite
Bring me the stumbled, the accident prone
The ones who drink often because they're alone
Bring me the words of a bruised barren soil


I'll be damned if this section doesn't remind me of every writer I've met at some point or another in the course of their life.  

Please take the time to follow R.Z. Joyce and her thought provoking body of work on Instagram.