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

Feature Poet – Elise Dextraze

See You Next Tuesday!

The first time someone called me…. This word….

I was confused. It came out as a bit of a grunt.

They were blunt.

Cocky, as if they were pulling some kind of impressive stunt

I’m sorry, but if this is supposed to be your version of a cold front,

I’m confused.

Because if you’re calling me a VAGINA,

Please, continue!

Because, did you know, a vagina is exceedingly elastic, flexible, open-minded and

can take all your many inches of bullshit

Because if you’re under the impression that calling me a VAGINA is insulting

You are so very mistaken

Because what you’re really saying is that I am strong, durable, resilient. This vagina

is jacked up on steroids, the same kind you find in shark liver oil, and that brings so

much more meaning to the phrase “maneater”

I have 8000 nerve endings at my disposal and I can chose to feel with every single

one, experiencing life in 8000 vibrant, sexy watercolours

So please. Continue.

There really are so many more imaginative insults you could have used.

Courtesy of this thing called the internet, I’ll give you a few – try cum dumpster next

time, or weiner wagon, or meat tunnel beef curtains, or Mr. Happy’s Flappy Garage

or, if you’re really fucked up, penis coffin

Even lasagna lips is better

It intrigues me that you chose to throw what’s considered the most insulting word

in the English language in my face because I disagreed with you

Because I challenged you

Now, freedom of speech is a rather lose term nowadays, which is why, instead of

tossing you in the deep end, this great white bitch is going to paint you a snap shot

with 8,000 watercolours,

Every brush stroke the sleek eyelash to the stained glass window of a woman’s heart

and no matter what colour she paints herself, your words can still wound and make

her reconsider the hues of her being

As children, we were told to man up, to grow a pair, to quit being a princess, stop

crying, stop being such a pussy. Because yeah, being called an asshole sucks. Call

me a dick back, I’ll get upset. But call me a pussy… Suddenly, I question my strength,

my voice, especially if I don’t even have one.

The worst insult in the English language is an extremely derogatory, on syllable

group of letters that shames a woman’s sacred garden. Because that’s what it is. My

vagina is sacred. So go ahead. I am a gloriously loud, full bodied, artistically driven,

empathic, love, patient and fed up cunt.

 

Why did you write this poem? 

Words are powerful, but only if we give them power.  I started noticing at a young age that when my male cousins teased each other using the word pussy, it stirred and unsettled something inside of me.  Even though they didn’t mean it in this way, it felt as though it were me they were using as the reference in their berating, that my body was somehow shameful to be compared to, that being compared to me was an insult.  I carried this shame with me for many years and I still loathe the word pussy with a nasty passion.  However, since cunt was obviously not a part of our young vocabulary, I found power in this word when I heard it used for the first time.  It’s easy to bite into and it’s so satisfying to roll around in your mouth.  I don’t find this word offensive at all – unless someone is deliberately trying to hurt with it.  There is no shame in being a cunt, because it’s a robust, loud, passionate word and it carries weight.  I wrote this piece because I find strength in the word cunt, even though it is considered the most derogatory insult in the English language.  Don’t call me a pussy if you’re angry.  Call me a cunt.  Because then I’ll believe that you understand how powerful the word is and how powerful I am.

About Elise Dextraze

Elise Dextraze has been writing since she could form a passable sentence and doesn’t plan to stop any time soon.  She cherishes art and creativity with a childlike sense of awe – performing arts, visual art, music, literature, you name it, Elise loves it.  She is currently attending MacEwan University for Theatre Arts and hopes to pursue her career as an artist through some serious travelling after graduation.  If you have any questions for Elise, about her inspirations or if you simply want to say hello, she can be reached at dextraze.e@gmail.com.

Feature Poet – Rea-Anna Walters

Daydreamer

I allow my heavy eyes to stare at the inside of my eyelids for a moment.

The dark, emptiness envelopes my mind.

Until a strand of your golden hair skips around my thoughts, tempting my vision of you–appearing with your face next to mine, your blue eyes pierce through my facade of strength, endearing the vulnerable weakness of my soul.

I watch your gaze glide, shamelessly from my brown eyes to my cheeks, the charcoal black hair that frames my jawline, your fingers release my hands and caress my lips, my chin, my softly sculpted nose, neck, waist. and your eyes are softly, silently combing my features, detangling my insecurities, replacing them with your adoration.

Moving your mind closer to my heart, your soft pink lips drawing closer to mine, till your golden hair tickles my forehead, your nose traces circles around mine, the sculpture of your lips embrace the mold of my own, soft like the newest clouds tucked neath the heavens depths.

My mind drifts in its peace, off to a world of no memory, engulfed in an earth of bliss, wrapped in thoughts of you.

 

Why did you write this poem? 

In all honesty, I wrote this poem because I liked a white boy once. Plain and simple. I thought that he exceeded my expectations and I thought he might be the exception. He was intriguing to me and I found myself daydreaming of how he would treat me if I trusted him. He had blue eyes, a strong jawline… and I don’t remember much after that. I think he was skinny and it didn’t last BUT, I liked a cute white guy once and it might happen again.

 

About Rea-Anna Walters

Rea-Anna Walters is a budding, Calgary born poet and student. She has been writing poetry for 6 years and hopes to inspire and encourage open expression through her words. Rea-Anna believes it is possible to replace insecurity with love.

Email: rea.anna.walters@gmail.com