Feature Poet – Joy Ashmore

 

People. they’re upset.
Cus they know they’re not doing what they want in life
Though they don’t really know what they want of life
though they’re doing what they’re doing what they thought was right,
they’re pursuing through the doings and the don’ts in life
Persuing and ensuing, the things that they’re doing and not really cluing into the fact what they’re doing is all an act
they know and go and glow and grow although its just artificial reality.
You the type just coast through life never seeing the light and never knowing whats right for them
if only they could see she he me and we for the things that they could be and the things that we are

Look at this guy, day after day the only thing in his way is…
well its him.
Its him and the things that he brings to his home so he feels like he wont be alone but he is you know why
because he makes it that way, You make i that way everyday everyday everyday everyday
but Dont be that way you don Have to be upset
People, Live your lives live your love just don’t give it up
because one day you know, you know you wont have it
You know you wont have it you know you just wont have enough of it…
…til its gone.
Til its done.

Til its out of your hands and out of your life
til one day one, one day there’ll be no way to say
i dont have the time
i dont have the money
i dont have the energy to make it my way.

I dont have the time
i dont have the money
I dont have the effort, to make it. Okay?
well no its not ok, you make it that way.
You sit here today because you made it that way
you are where you are because you make it that way

The troubles, the joys that you live everyday
You make it that way, You make it that way, You make it that way
You make it that way… okay?
and realize they dont have to live the typical, One way that were expected to live.
(Once something becomes a lecture, people tend to tune it out.)

Why Did You Write This Poem?
Usually when I write a poem; I like to try to make people think about their lives (and be funny if i can)
without beating them over the head with “Society is wrong” and “You’re being manipulated by the system”.
So trying to do that in a way that’s perceived as presenting information, rather than just being negative, can help the listener feel
like they’re not being attacked with the poem. That’s The feeling im trying to present with this.

About Joy Ashmore
Joy mainly works as a Visual artist based in Edmonton.
Website: www.acryliclight.webs.com
Instagram: acrylic_light
Email: the_edmonton_painters@hotmail.com

Feature Poet – Megan Dart

Long Day

I wake to the sound of wind rushing through leaves of centuries old trees and am
reminded of the shore pulling ocean toward her, the comforting crash of water kissing
rock outside my childhood bedroom door.

I pull your dream damp body into the cave of my arms, your breath stirring the small
hairs on the back my neck, a sweet surrender.

The sun has been rolling on high for hours now, but I can’t bring myself to rouse you
with soft whispered words. I watch eyes dance beneath draped lids, the safe space
where comfort and imagination spin a careful 1-2-side-step slow dance around the room
where, night after night, you lay me down, head on chest, a private concert starring the
hypnotic tic-toc of your generous heart.

I am grateful for the long reach of the sun’s outstretched arms, fingers curling into
palm beckoning a full day of play where skin is reddened, screens forgotten, freckles
uncovered.

(you will connect those sun-kissed dots with salt-wetted lips later, each salutation a
hushed thank you.)

I beg the moon to return just one minute more so I might relive the moment when night
gave way to day and new light fell soft against the imperfect lines of your slack face, the
worries of wake washed away by waves of summer breeze lapping the hem of bedroom
window curtain.

I collect this moment like the seashells I plunked into buckets of water, and sand dollars
and crabs discovered under rocks in the recesses of memory, knowing love is the sum
of quiet happenings gone unnoticed by anyone but me and you, the sun and the moon,
the coming and going of foam to shore, the way the rock and the water kiss ever so
gently again and again without greed, without expectation, without need of wanting
anything more.

About Megan Dart
Megan is the co-Artistic Producer of Catch the Keys Productions, Edmonton’s go-to indie arts event and production company. Catch the Keys is equal parts party starter, community activator and multidisciplinary creator. Megan holds her Bachelor of Communications in Professional Writing from Grant MacEwan University, and is a playwright, spoken word artist and freelance arts publicist. Megan is the artist liaison and publicity manager for Nextfest; the publicity manager for The Expanse Festival; a Street Team member with the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta; the President of The Good Women Dance Collective; and a committee member with Theatre Network and the Theatre Edmonton Project. Megan was named one of the Top 100 Women in Business by The Wanderer Online, and is a 2014 Grant MacEwan University Distinguished Alumni.

Feature Poet – Titilope Sonuga

Becoming

When the world unravels before you
and even your dreams are crumbling stones
when everything you dare to touch is set on fire
and all around you is ash and smoke
remember this

rock bottom is a perfect place for rebuilding

Titilope_Becoming

remember that you are your mother’s daughter
your grandmother’s answered prayers
a whole bloodline of women
who bend in response to raging winds

there is nothing broken here
nothing damaged or discarded
each scar is a badge of honor
your smile is an act of defiance against the sun
every misstep is a victory dance waiting to happen

You are a woman becoming
learning the complicated language of forgiveness
the intricate lessons of the universe

Your heart is just a muscle waiting for exercise
and you were born for this sort of heavy lifting
You were born one part saint
one part warrior woman

Loving yourself without shame
is the most important thing
you will ever have to fight for

Why did you write this poem? 
I wrote this poem long before I ever needed to hear the words in it. It’s amazing how it became a kind of self fulfilling prophecy. Months later when I was going through what felt like my own personal hell, it was my own words mirrored back to me that helped me get out of bed in the mornings. Words heal.

About Titilope Sonuga
Titilope Sonuga is a Nigerian born poet, performer and Civil Engineer. She was the winner of the 2011 Canadian Authors Association Emerging Writer Award, as well as the 2013 RISE Award and 2014 NBCC Fil Fraser Award for achievement in the arts. She performed at the 2011 Chinua Achebe Colloquium on Africa, and her writing was selected from over 200 applicants to meet acclaimed poet, Maya Angelou. She is the creator of Breath In Poetry and a founding member of the Breath In Poetry Collective.

 

www.titilope.ca
twitter: @deartitilope
instagram: titilope , deartitilope
info@titilope.ca

 

Feature Poet – Medgine Mathurin

 

Mes Mémoires d’enfance

There are chalk stains
Pasted on the concrete grounds of my current adulthood
Pigments of a time when television was a privilege only afforded by those with electricity generators.
When imagination became primetime entertainment
And little brothers and sisters were power rangers and Mortal Kombat assassins fighting air-shaped nemesis.
Battles often won by the stabbing of tree branches

When the sound of rain
Drumming
on metal rooftops
Were concert bass sounds
We found ourselves yelling over to hear each other

Memories of playing street vendor
Where rocks became produce
Strategically arranged in pyramids
Hustling any known visitor to buy them
In exchange for enough money to buy
Tablette candy, douce, glass bottled coca-colas

Innocence
Mimicking hustles of Haitian Markets
Blinded to the men and women hustling to make enough money for their children to become our classmates

Sketches of faded childhood ambition
Now stand before me
Along with the cracks reality often brings if you are alive long enough to see it.

 

Why did you write this poem?
Most of my childhood memories stem from growing up in Haiti. I remember cradling myself under these memories, getting drunk in the nostalgia of my childhood thoughts… Not wanting to sober myself to the realities of being a first nation immigrant. The struggle re identify myself as a teenager growing up in Calgary. I’m thankful for the privilege afforded to me to learn English and to go to university and to see different parts of the world, but I don’t ever want to forget where I came from.


About Medgine
Born and raised in Haiti, Medgine spent her teenage years in Calgary and now calls Edmonton, her 3rd home. Her story is infused with English, French & Créole. Having recently graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor in Biological Science, she finds joy in poetry and creative writing. Medgine‘s aim through her poetry is to uplift and enlighten those who hear it. With 3 years of writing under her pen, she has gotten the opportunity to perform in various cities across Canada including Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, and even overseas in Trinidad. She was part of the 2012 Edmonton Slam Team, and the edmonton representative in the 2013 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam, held in Vancouver last year. Recently has gotten the opportunity to present her spoken word at the inaugural launch of the Michaëlle Jean Canadian Caribbean, African Diasporic Studies Lecture Series at the University of Alberta.

Twitter: medgeemedge
Instagram: medgeemedge
Facebook Page: Medgine

 

 

Feature Poet — Nasra Adem

Saturday

Saturday

There is never a warning.

In seconds control is lost

Breath no longer your own

a servant to anxiety 

making orders, sending heat and hurt 

through out

In minutes images you’ve long erased, names that no longer sting and 

three word phrases that have lost all meaning

flood back up from the depths of where they’ve been buried

past your chest and shoulders and lips and eyelashes

And you wring your hands so much

that you have to remind yourself you’ve already 

drip drop puddled your way on to the floor

there is nothing left

just look at you

Liquified pity and pills and pathetic

Sometimes all you have left is the tangible

the sponge soaked skin of your cheeks and railroad tracks on wrists to remind you 

you are not invincible

when time turns in to scab and scar and sympathy 

when your blood boils

scorching

blistering

there is only one way out

you’ve got to let it out

a river of red drumming life in and out of you

out of you

out of you

you’ve got to get it out of you 

this is not a poem about self harm

it is about wishing your soul had a face 

so that people would stop fucking asking what you’re always so happy about 

it is about not knowing a single person on the planet you haven’t kept secrets from

it is about being ashamed and guilty and not knowing why

or knowing why and being so hyper aware of every single reason why

that people become lake water reflections

distorted disappointments

you can see all the beautiful ways you will hurt them 

like you hurt you

I will drown you

I warned you

I have projected every shade of broken your way

I will drown you

I don’t know how not to

and why is it they never talk about how impatient loneliness can be?

how it doesn’t wait for you to leave a room full of people before it starts clawing at your ankles to

stay! stay and feel nothing around all these people that feel everything

can you taste their powder sugar spirits?

are you breathing in their stability? 

does their stench of vivacity make you dizzy?

And why, in a room of wall to wall lake water reflections…am I struggling to recognize even a droplet of myself?

I have been reduced to salt water on the floor of my bedroom

careful you might slip

careful i will drown you

don’t say i didn’t warn you

and all this because they never talked about the kids with powdered sugar smiles.

Why did you write this poem?

I wrote this piece because I needed to. For myself and for the integrity of my art. I wanted to prove that my darkness deserved as much recognition as my light, that it’s all important and valuable and that I am still growing through it all.

Photo: Visual artist: Paula K Volker

About Nasra Adem

Nasra Adem is a 20 year old poet, dancer, singer and actress. She is currently studying musical theatre at Grant MacEwan University and aspires to take her passion for all performance art to New York City in the years to come.

facebook.com/nasraadempage

youtube.com/nasraadem 

Feature Poet — Marina Hale

Seventeen Things You Left Me With When Our Relationship Ended

 

Seventeen

A Time Turner necklace
Silly and nerdy and beautiful and perfect
The best birthday gift for a Harry Potter girl
Stuck in the struggle to control her world

 

Sixteen

Two Speed Racer bobblehead dolls
Remnants of a childhood gone but not forgottenTimeTurnerNecklace
Speed and Racer X still sit above my bed
Wobbling, bobbling guardians in the dark
Nodding me off to sleep each night

 

Fifteen

Three stuffed owls
Will, Oscar, and Jane
Named for my favourite authors
Bought for no particular reason
Bought because you saw them and thought of me
Bought because you knew I loved owls and I loved collecting things
And you thought this could be our thing you buying me owls

 

You never bought me any more owls

 

Fourteen

Books
So many books
Countless books
So that I can no longer remember which books come from you
Every page potentially infused with memories of summer afternoons spent side by side in dusty bookstores fingers trailing across spines

 

Thirteen

Memories of the weird face you make right before you come

 

Twelve

A skinny waist
Because
As it turns out
The very best weight loss plan is heartbreak

 

Eleven

A lingering sense of unimportance
A pervasive feeling of profound unworth
Just a tiny little thing
Always creeping in the corners of my vision
Whispering words of “not good enough”
In a voice that sounds like yours

 

Ten

Months of therapy
I don’t want to talk about it

 

Nine

Superhero comic books
A world of spandex tights and capes
Rediscovered amid the boxes
And boxes
And boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes of meticulously organized superhero comic books crammed into every available nook and cranny of your basement suite
Lost amid your maze of boxes
I found for myself a world I hadn’t seen since I was small
Fantasies of power
And justice
Good
Versus evil
Fierce warriors
Who fought for a cause bigger than their lonely selves

 

Eight

Shame

 

Seven

Okay I’ll talk about it
Because you gave me the opportunity to beg for help
To sit across the desk from a clipboard and a pair of bored eyes
To uncover every ugly scar
And be judged for them
To sit across a desk
Drowning in myself
While a clipboard decided if I was broken enough to be worth the effort of rebuilding

 

Six

My very own sonic screwdriver
With real extending, light flashing, sound blasting action
Perfect for chasing scary shadows out from closet corners and under beds
A toy from Doctor Who
A show you also gave me
A show that still reminds me every day that
The world is amazing
And
People are incredible
And
Some days
Some very special days
Everybody lives

 

Sometimes in the darkest hours of the night
I clutch the sonic screwdriver to my chest
Hold on and don’t let go
Until the markings on its handle are scored into my palm
Hold on and don’t let go trying to remember that some days
Some days
Everybody lives

 

Five

A new identity that didn’t fit quite right
A second skin wound so tight in you that it didn’t quite cover all of the vulnerable bits of me
So that when you walked away
You tore it away
And left me full of nothing

 

Four

A Ravenclaw house banner
Stolen from your place of work
Just because you knew it was my favourite House
Just to see me smile

 

Three

Access to the darkest corners of my mind
The shadowy recesses where the monsters hide
I could have lived my whole life without knowing about the monsters in my head
But you opened the cage
Let them run free to tear apart my psyche
Let them strangle my appetite in my throat
Reject every bite of food
And hand me bottles to lose myself in
Let them point out every edge sharp enough to carve the hurt out from under my skin
Let them whisper words of false comfort as they place clawed hands over mine try to turn the steering wheel towards anything large enough to shatter me
I didn’t know I was so easy to break

 

Two

Almost two years of happiness
Because
Despite everything
We were happy, weren’t we?

 

One

A Time Turner necklace

 

Why did you write this poem? 

I was wearing my Time Turner necklace one day, and when someone complimented me and asked where I got it, I told them it was the only good thing to come out of my relationship with my ex. We all got a good laugh, but thinking about it later, I realized I was being unfair. Relationships are complicated, especially when they’ve ended. I wanted to explore that confusing mess of happy and painful stuff that’s left behind after the breakup. If the Time Turner really worked, would you go back?

 

About Marina Hale

Marina can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be a writer (with the notable exception of a week in grade two when she wanted to live on a houseboat and be adopted by dolphins). A University of Alberta grad with a BA in English and Creative Writing, Marina enjoys punctuation, wearing plaid, and open mic nights. Her writing has been featured in the inaugural edition of Glass Buffalo, and she has co-written a number of plays for NextFest, KidsFringe, and local youth theatre company OverActing Imaginations. She once won a trophy for her terrible, angsty teen poetry, and it remains one of her proudest moments.

Twitter: @Mrimm

Feature Poet – Arlo Maverick (aka Marlon Wilson)

English Is My 8th Language
 
Who decided that English was the language of intelligence?
This edifice is one in which the people who are often most vocal
Have failed to locate their own voice. 
 
What is our relationship with colonialism as it relates to language?
Are we unforgiving of those who fail to master
The language of their colonial master?
Unaccepting of those with a masters
Not approved by our masters?
 
The very fabric of the English language is a quilt woven with dialects that have been stitched together after the pirating of words near and far.
 
But our contemporary narrative rejects nearly every language that comes from afar.
 
People whose vocation for higher education was met with the expectation that their vocabulary do more than vary, but carry the nuances of pop culture. 
 
So not only must they learn a language that is coupled with slang and sarcasm.  They have to know every inside joke relating to Seinfeld, Star Wars and Forrest Gump.
 
For your information, just because I feed my family from the behind the wheel of a cab does not mean I lack drive.  In fact I have steered them to higher education in hopes that they can one day know a different kind of fare.
 
My accent may fail to accentuate my intelligence… true!
 
But you have graduated children with spelling worst then mine!
I mean with all the LOLs, BRBs and CTCs you would think they didn’t know their ABCs.
 
The children of Canadians are have mores, who have not the time to spell words out.  So everything is done in shorthand. But the long arm of the law isn’t so comforting to first generation immigrants whose English comes up short. 
 
Imagine the hypocrisy.
In a land of misplaced apostrophes they’re knocking me for not pronouncing “certain” properly. 
 
But how dare you mock the accent of the immigrant working at 7-11. 
I’m willing to bet that he is fluent in at least 7 to 11 languages.
But his inability to properly speak one makes him an idiot. 
 
For a people so protective of their sacred language you would think they would treat it like a new born.  But this language has more contractions than a woman in labor that it has given birth to a labor force that doesn’t feel the need to labor so it brings in cheap labor so it can lay bored complaining about immigrants not speaking English. 
 

SPEAK ENGLISH IF YOU WANT TO COME TO CANADA….

 
No speak Cree, if you want to come to Canada
Speak Ojibwe, if you want to come to Canada
Speak Blackfoot if you want to come to Canada.
As Canadians these are your native tongues
As Canadians this is your mother’s tongue
But you bite the hand that feeds you
For a Queen who’ll never free you
 
This poem is for the foreign workers packing Timbits at Timmy’s
The brown skin custodians at the U of A who should be teaching but are cleaning up after intellects who either cannot read or tell the difference between a recycle bin and a garbage can. 
 
Maybe stupid is as stupid is as stupid does.

Why did you write this poem?

Living in Alberta I’ve witnessed countless occasions where very intelligent people have been reduced to their accents or their inability to speak english. For some reason as Canadians we see someone’s inability to speak our “native tongue” as a sign of their intelligence which is sort of ironic, considering its not the native tongue of Canadians.  What I found interesting is that on so many occasions the people who were being mocked spoke so many different languages where the person who was mocking them spoke english and very poorly at that. So I wrote this in hopes of bringing attention to something that we overlook but should be more aware of as a country that prides itself on being multi-cultural and accepting.

About Arlo Maverick

Arlo Maverick is an Edmonton-based hip-hop MC, Spoken Word Poet, and philanthropist. As 1/4 of one of Edmonton’s most recognized hip-hop acts he has celebrated successes that include nominations, critical acclaim and national and international chart activity. As a poet he has represented Edmonton on the national stage as part of the 2013 Edmonton National Slam Team. As a community leader he has raised over 10,000 lbs of food for the Edmonton Food Bank through his yearly initiative, Hip-Hop for Hunger.

Arlo Maverick is currently working on his first solo effort–a concept album entitled, Maybe Tomorow. 

Twitter: @ArloMaverick

Instagram: @ArloMaverick