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Originally set to take place at the Atwater Library, Dyad Press’ poetry reading, titled “Former Members,” ended up down the street at a small park.

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Picnic tables were pushed together to form a makeshift seating area as the twenty-odd attendees gathered to hear Jesse Anger, Hannah Hackney, Quincy R. Lehr, John Wall Barger, Marc Di Saverio, Carmine Starnino, and Ernest Hilbert.

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“This is perfect somehow,” remarked Barger before beginning his reading. Despite the change of plans, the outdoor venue was indeed a perfect setting. Each poet read his or her pieces in the cool evening while backlit by the setting sky.

In an absurd twist of events, the Montreal police decided the poetry reading was an illegal gathering that posed a risk to the Atwater community and demanded the party leave. Before departing, and within earshot of the SPVM officer, Hilbert had time to read “The Gelding.” According to Hilbert, the poem speaks to the institutional suppression of creative freedom. How fitting.

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The night ended across the street, on public property, with a compelling reading in near darkness by Di Saverio. For light, Hilbert held up his cell phone on flashlight mode over Di Saverio’s shoulder.

For a poetry reading, I imagine this is as exciting as it gets. How many can say they’ve been one poem away from being tear gassed? 

Photos By: Richard Malouf

typewriter

We have all been there – having that one person in your life that you love so much it scares the shit out of you. The fear of being rejected is one of the most common fears faced by all people. You go to speak your mind and no words form.

When it is impossible to say how you really feel a soul bearing letter or lust inspired poem is the most logical therapy. Trust me it’s better than sending a drunken text message (or writing a letter and putting it in a tin foil swan full of pot brownies and putting them inside his unlocked car – which I’ve done).

I have been writing unsent love letters since my first real crush. I wrote about his blue hair, his love of The Misfits, and about feeling butterflies whenever his skateboard rolled past my house or the fact that he chose to sit next to ME on the bus everyday. My unrequited teenage love is well documented in notebooks full of poems that have never seen the light of day. They are beautiful, honest, sincere, and so very naive.

My newest letters are written in the notes section of my phone, generally when I am stoned and feeling lonely. I get naked on stage for a living and my art and blogs focus on the things that most people fear the most, but I don’t give a fuck. Except when it comes to love, I am still the chicken shit teenager watching every crush move on or get friend zoned because I never told them how I felt. How can someone be so confident but so afraid?

These letters are patched together and may or may not be to the same person, may be old or current, and they are definitely real. They are all for “You,” whoever that may be…

You can listen to this while you read them:

You make me smile and your smile ignites my heart’s desire, a panty fire. Your scent envelopes my sensibilities. Smoking whiskey and drinking marijuana. Forever yearning and burning myself on the oven grates. French bread pizzas instead of French kisses. Great. This is that moment when I try to kiss you and if you kiss me back I tell you exactly how I feel and if it doesn’t work and you don’t then I blame it on the drugs and continue living the lie. Lying on the love seat with you on the couch. I’d rather feel you in my sheets, listen to the sound of your sleep, pressing against me with your perfect nakedness. Baring your soul through a wall. Not greater or more real than the wall around my heart. A barbed wire fence like Pam Anderson’s bad tattoo. With a mote filled with flesh eating trolls. I want to tell you everything.

Mister take my hand. It’s not small like the other girls. The nails are chewed dirty chipped. The callouses and paint stains abundant , hands that work hard, hands that love strong, the hands of an artist, double jointed, scarred. Scared. I want to untangle your hair, defeat the demons that haunt you, undo the girls who have hurt you, relinquish the reasons why you hold back. I feel you in these tepid rain drops, I hear you in every song. I want to be the girl you come home to and the one you let tag along. Let’s inspire eternity in each other, make art and love that lasts far after our eyes are eaten by worms or burned.

It’s hard to leave when all I wanna do is stay. Good night ol’ buddy ol’ pal is what you say, and I guess I can’t have it any other way. I love you like the summertime, more than chicken wings or the sweetest wine, I’d kiss your face and say your fine, live in your warmth ’till the end of time. You sweet man, just doin’ the best you can. I will always be one of many, forever just your biggest fan.

You are so beautiful and I’m terrified I never said anything because I knew it wouldn’t accomplish anything. I will always wonder and hope that you will feel the same way, but just like I have no choice in how I feel about you, you don’t have a choice in not feeling the same. It’s just how life goes, wanting what doesn’t want us back.

You ran away and I wish I had chased. You terrify me and intrigue me equally. The more I get to know you the more I want to know. You make me want to swing dance. You are an incredible artist, fearlessly funny, and you can cook! Take me now.

You are everything I could ever dream for in a human. I know we talked about this once, I don’t want to ever tie you down, your free spirit is what makes you so special.I would love to travel the world and do filthy sexy dirty things to you. I want to activate the benefits portion of our friendship.

You know every single time I leave I want to kiss you goodnight right? I punch the cold early morning air when I get to the bottom of the steep stairs and lock the door behind me “Fuck, why am I so scared?” I always hope to hear you stomp down the stairs,throw the door open, with no words, grab me, and make love right there. Passionate kisses and an animalistic embrace. With only some dirty laundry as our witness. Fuck your couch. Oh to fall asleep in your arms. Sweaty and covered in the musk of lust. I want you so hard that I masturbate to your photos. I think I’m falling in love with you, or whatever that means.

I never needed anything until I saw your beautiful everything, I’m floating. I will cook the foods you love the most, play the records that move your soul. I want to make art with you, because of you, to you. You inspire me to explore, the only one who stops me dead in my tracks, no turning back, and I’m scared that you don’t feel the same, I can’t let you slip away. I’ve got a lot to say but draw a blank. The man in my dreams never had a face until I met you.

ariana-and-noah poetry

This summer was my first foray into trying my hand at reading poetry. The Résonance Reading Series is not even a year old and this summer saw a new addition to regular poetry events in Montreal.

Kafein began hosting Poetry Nights: a combination of poetry readings, DJ sets (Noah Bick), and delicious drinks. A small eclectic community has begun to form around these word wielding nights. Below are four pieces by poets who have left impressions on my poetry crushin’ heart.

untitled by Ariana Molly

I want to be a kid and do kid things and follow (break) kid rules.
Adulthood is a bunch of mumbo jumbo.
What happened to time outs and 8 p.m. bed time?
What happened to being my dad’s little fish and my mom’s little helper?
I just want to dance to ‘Beat It’ and the Beach Boys Endless Summer vinyl in my basement that had the swings my dad built.
I want my backyard pool and my turtle shaped sandbox.
I want my mad science birthday party where I wore metallic purple lipstick to match my purple butterfly dress.
I want platform shoes and colourful scrunchies and barrettes.
I want to be a virgin.
I want my powder pink room with the hand painted accents my mom paid a fortune for.
I want my canopy.
I want it to be cute when I act like a princess.
I want my hair to curl with the innocence it used to and I want to cut it badly with safety scissors.
What happened to my Dr. Seuss collection?
What happened to my parents’ wedding photos?
What happened to my childhood home the eggplant coloured dining room?
I want my pink plaid window seat I built with my dad.
I want my pink polka dot mini skirt because it made me feel like a rock star.
I want my collection of tapes.
Is it wrong to miss prissy private school and backstabbing little girls?
Is it wrong to miss my normal family?
I wanted to be an adult so badly because adulthood was romanticized.
I walked out of the womb an adult.
I wanted to wear a g-string and have boobs.
I wanted a boy to call me baby.

***

Ariana Molly kick-started Poetry Night and has watched it blossom from infanthood to what it is today. She came here one year ago from Ottawa and has nestled quite nicely into life in the big city. She also works as the Style Editor of local web magazine The Main and attends Concordia University as a photography major.

***

gonzo

itching to break this bone prison by Gonzo Nieto

if you’re still itching to break this bone prison
be your own prism, shatter the lights and grow brilliant
there’s a billion of folks who froze quick and won’t listen
they call themselves adults, I relate more to grown children
with a sense of wonder and some jokes cracked, ponder the smokestacks
if it’s about the process, why are we rushing through so fast?
I barely made it out the door though the choke gas
now I’m out here in the cold breeze, eyes closed
hands out not asking for change, just to hold peace
.. actually I take back the change bit
I’ve got this list written, I could try and explain
see I’ve been doing some thinking, not on purpose, it just happened
but I don’t think I’d be happy with my final pictures caption
if it said, “this man had talent but he didn’t have the passion
had the tools to make it work but never worked to make it happen
grappled with abstractions and was always glancing backwards
losing focus and being passive were the hallmarks of his actions”
I dealing with a loss of potential, the cost of correcting
the habits passed down from the past to the present
gas, too expensive, I’ll find my own ride inside
to find comfort in and ride out these messes
with pride intact, ‘til I die, in fact
‘cause you can’t own your present ‘til you own your past
existential facts you can’t avoid or evade
you’ll go mad trying to find holes to escape from ‘em
I once thought I knew more than I do now
sporting a loose crown, core resting on loose ground,
battles and feuds waged, but no challenging truths found
and when I look back now, all I wear’s a confused frown
so short-sighted.. guess it’s good that we grow, right?
or grow left or grow despite our best efforts to freeze time
but never regret strides, and keep in mind it’s just a ride
and find clarity behind those closed eyes
‘cause if you’re still itching to break this bone prison
be your own prism, shatter the lights and grow brilliant
there’s a billion of folks who froze quick and won’t listen
they call themselves adults, but I relate more to grown children

***

Gonzo is a spoken word performer and writer. His work seeks to reflect the fluidity and nonlinear nature of thought, and tends to put an emphasis on complex rhyme schemes and tightly-controlled rhythm. He performs around the city of Montreal, where he is pursuing a degree in psychology and neuroscience.

***

Concrete Lights by Cam Novak 

We are lost in the darkness of city lights.
The truth is concrete will never replace the dirt beneath our feet.
The trees reach for space they created and look for refuge.
There are too many feet on this trail, where do the bloodless live anymore?
A forced intervention in a conflict never imagined. A hole in the heart that swells the eyes of those who look at the horizon.
A birth of an idea, this is what we need.
Those Cherished feelings of hope to help those who walk their path and face their dreams and not their feet.
We’ve left this too long, my lips wont stay shut.
They have a mission to open wide and encourage the mind to follow.
Strange how we have forgotten what gave us our minds.
Memories are piled into garbage bags and turned into soil for rotten thoughts.

***

Cam is a self-taught, multi-disciplinary artist who’s work tackles many issues and questions revolving around the use of public space and identity. For more of his work, see is website.

***

andrew

the martyr by Andrew Jamieson

spewing from your mouth
that stench
cheap smoke
cheap drink
yah, you’re shaking with that rage

and this boy is sad,
you, you made him sad
and this boy is scared,
yah man you made him scared.

he is trying so hard to hate you

because YOU’RE GETTING WORSE
and suddenly! it’s common fucking knowledge

you tell him no, no
like he’s a child
and he wants to defy you
but his mouth
it’s filled with blood.
and he wants to beg for mercy
but that kiss took more than his breath away.
this is your fantasy and you know everything he is going to say.

you want him to leave,
don’t you?? to run,
run run run runaway
but he won’t, he caaan’t,
cuz you’re a drug…
YOU’RE A DRUG!

(but nobody will tell me what it fucking means.)

***

Andrew Jamieson is a  writer, director, actor and performance artist living in Montreal. Andrew’s prose exhibits an uninhibited, unrelenting honesty through  personal experiences, all the while encompassing an unwavering unapologetic ethos. His book, Faith and Force – The Egoist’s Complex will be available in January 2014. 

***

Check out Kafein’s next Poetry Night on September 17th at 8 p.m.

Photos by Michael Colatruglio.

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 Earlier this summer, I began journeying back into the world of poetry reading, a scene I had exited almost five years ago, and attended one of Montreal’s new reading series organized by local poet Klara Du Plessis at the lovely Resonance Cafe. Jon Paul Fiorentino was one of two featured readers and took to the stage at the end of the event. I’m not sure what caught my attention first, the wit in his poetry, or the copy of Hello Serotonin that he threw right by my head as part of his performance. Let’s call this a very memorable first impression indeed.

Fiorentino is a young author with an impressive body of work including full length books, contributions to literary anthologies, radio essays, scholarly articles and criticism. His past full length books of poetry and fiction include Indexical Elegies (2010) Stripmalling (2009), soon to be produced into a feature length film, Asthmatica (2005), Hello Serotonin (2004), Transcona Fragments (2002). He is currently a professor at Concordia University where he teaches creative writing.1289851_10151640572503297_849750968_n

After my encounter with Jon Paul Fiorentino at the Resonance Reading Series, it seemed that we kept bumping into each other around the city at local shows and poetry readings. After a little while, I decided it was time for me to read one of his books. On September 8th, Fiorentino is launching his latest book of poetry entitled Needs Improvement.

Needs Improvement is Fiorentino’s sixth collection of poems. In these pages, Fiorentino takes a critical look at the language of education and the way in which pedagogy coerces and enforces certain types of performances. Split into three sections, Needs Improvement, is satirical, witty, and ironically educational in the ways of  poetry and language. Of the collection, “Lowerhand”, “The Report Card of Leslie Mackie”, ‘Guide for Taking the Exams’ and “Open Source” are standouts. Furthermore, the schemas used in the ‘Pedagogical Interventions’ section are poignantly tongue-in-cheek and a treat for those familiar with the seminal works of Foucault, Butler, Freud, and more.

In light of the launch, I had the chance to quickly interview Jon Paul Fiorentino about his writing process, his wit, and Needs Improvement.

Poets you admire/enjoy currently?

JPF: David McGimpsey, Darren Wershler, Darren Bifford, Margaret Christakos, Sina Queyras, Ken Babstock, Christian Bok, Mike Spry, Elizabeth Bachinsky, Jessica Grim, Catherine Hunter, John K Samson. I am happily all over the map.

What is your writing process like?

JPF: Drink, cry, write, rinse, repeat.

What inspires you generally, and more specifically when it came to writing Needs Improvement?

JPF: If this book has a “cause,” I suppose it would be anti-bullying. Needs Improvement addresses the way we receive instructional, evaluative, and pedagogical language. It reveals how teachers are often the worst bullies and it advocates for a space for the marginalized, different, odd.

What would you say was the greatest challenge in writing this book?

JPF: I “wrote” some visual schematics for seminal texts and a series of fake report cards. It was a lot of labour to come up with a design that looked like grainy photocopies of 1980s report cards. The schematics were fun to do, but also very labour intensive. Graphic design is one of my unhealthy habits.

You have an impressive amount of publications under your belt, can you tell us a bit  about your journey thus far as a writer?

JPF: I started young. But I’m glad I did. I am proud of my early books, warts and all. The early juvenilia is still mine and it makes it clear how far I’ve come. I am no longer afraid of saying a thing simply and clearly. Nor am I afraid of letting myself go in the name of linguistic experimentation.

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Wit and comedic ability seem to be at the core of your work, where do you think this comes from? 

JPF: I think I use humour (less so in poetry than in prose) because it’s a natural component of my rhetoric. I was a weird little kid and got picked on a lot. I developed a heightened sense of humour in part because it was the best way to negotiate with bullies. The adult world has even more bullies and I find myself in the unique position of being able to call them out. Humour is an excellent all-in-one tool for disarming thoughtless, evil people.

What would you say has changed in terms of your writing since your last book?

JPF: I think I am more at ease with the idea of the intersection of activism and art in writing. I’ve always believed in this intersection, but I wasn’t always able to be so direct about it in my own practice. I think things changed for me quite recently when I began to write op-eds about things like sexism, depression, mental health advocacy.

Jon Paul Fiorentino launches Needs Improvement on Sunday, September 8, 2013 at Sparrow (5322 Boul. St-Laurent). Readings by Fiorentino and special guests: Jacob Spector, Julie Mannell, Mike Spry, and Jason Camlot. Event website: http://www.chbooks.com/events/sept-8-jon-paul-fiorentino-needs-improvement-montreal-book-launch-2013-09-08 

anger 1

I must learn to control my anger

Control my anguish

Control my angst

 

Ranting and raving and complaining

Can all be counterproductive

I really should learn to be complacent

To become apathetic towards myself and my world

To turn into a stone, or at least a   vegetable.

I’d likely make a terrible vegetable.

Probably something poisonous.

 

I was always taught that right is right

Left is left. Unless it’s my left. Right?

Is there anything left?

I think I’m wrong.

 

The left can’t be on the right, can it?

Unless you turn around.

Half way.

Then what was left is now right. And what was right is now left.

Turn around.

I’m getting dizzy

I don’t want to fight.

And I have a bulldozer coming a little too close

And it’s advancing.

On the other side of me is a very long cliff-drop,

And the bulldozer’s driver is suicidal

And fully intends to drive his bulldozer

Over the edge

But he’s insisting on sending me down with him!

 

Argueing for the sake of argueing and

Fighting for the sake of fighting is pointless.

 

Anger is natural, and a normal response to stimuli that irritate a person.

Different stimuli affect different people in different ways.

But anger has also a chemical component

A naturally produced component that is extremely addictive

And many people become addicted

To being angry

Which is why anger management is a necessity.

 

I’ve learned somewhat how to manage my anger, but not entirely.

I know some people who are always yelling and screaming at me

About things that make hem angry

And they love to yell at me, and see me squirm and cringe

Because I don’t react much to other people’s anger.

Well, that’s not exactly true.

 

So please,

Stop yelling at me

About the idiot customer who forgot to tip you this morning,

And about the coworker who got in your way and cut you off

Or about how I never do the dishes when I do them all the time

Or about how I’m not pulling my weight when I have been all along

Or about how other people aren’t pulling their weight

 

There are even people out there

Who think I’m guilty of everything

No trial

No question

No chance of any possibility

I’m guilty.

If it happened centuries before I was born,

I’m guilty.

If it happened somewhere I have never been to,

Guilty.

If it happened anywhere or any time I wasn’t there

I’m   guilty!

I know,

I have no patience for stupidity in traffic,

I have no patience for traffic or stupidity or things and people who are in my way,

blocking me from what and where I’m going to

Thwarting me

People who tell me to be patient when they just waste my time!

 

Then there are the swindlers, the liars, and the cheats

The psychotic upheavals

There is war in the streets

In some places.

But the news media only publishes

What the man wants you to know

So some celebrity’s underwear photo

Eclipses a war.

 

Images from: http://boundariesandbridges.blogspot.com/

 

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Poetry for July 18, 2011.

Perhaps this is coming a bit too soon,
Since I wrote all that poetry back in June
But I couldn’t quite
Come up with tonight’s
Topic on which to rant and write.

Once upon a setting sun
A police officer pulled out his gun
And examined it, it had been fired
At someone innocent, now expired
He laughed to himself
With a new taste for blood
“I don’t even have to run!”

The sinister minister administered things
Because he wanted to reach high brass rings
Secretly he wanted to be the boss,
But he was instead the yes man,
Dealing with the dross

Once there was a man
Who built a dam
That was worth a damn.
But he’s dead now.

Some people don’t know
All the things I know
But most people
Know more than me
My view of the world
Is often cracked, warped and cynical
And I know that not everyone agrees.

My mail is slow, much too slow
I’m waiting for extra weeks
I don’t really know
Why this is so
So very slow

Strike Backlog!

I think this blow
Causing this slow
Will make it so
I must give up more control

I’m considering Direct Deposit!

All my life I’ve been called a loser,
A moron, hoser
And a worthless poser
A faker, a taker, and even a breaker
But it’s all done by a bunch of bullies
Who would likely sue me if I’d stand up to ‘em
So I might just consider
Taking the gun to shoot ‘em
But then…

I’m a nice guy
And I’m short, and fat
And broke
Needless to say, I never get laid,
But then it’s also confidence I lack

I want a man eating plant in my garden.
On second thought, maybe not.

I wish I could’ve come up with something new
But this week it just got away from me
I’d be repeating myself
If I wrote anything that’s bothering me  at the moment
I wish I could sleep,
But this heat is keeping me up.

Rod Roddy is dead.
from cancer of the mantits
around seven or eight years ago
I thought you knew that

———————————-

and another thing…
Fish, can drown.
You are not a fish.
therefore you cannot drown
except that you can
logic doesn’t always act logically, does it?

Summer is nice
It’s warm outside
Everyone wears less clothing

The shapelessness of winter
Is no longer seen
And bared bodies are now partly showing

Summer is nice
But sunburns are not
And neither are the mosquitoes

Summer is nice
But not the humidity
And not the difficulty to breathe

Winter is nice.

Nuclear explosions with mushroom clouds
Are photographed for posters to be put up on the wall
By hepcats, coolcats,   scenesters, hipsters and hippies too
And let’s not forget the punks.

And while there are combinated formations of the above in current existence
And while I happen to be friends with many of them
And while I would be among them if I were ten years younger
And yet, I am among them
And I
Am a combinated combination of the above.

whitewashed fences

The Montreal International Infringement Spoken Word Show is tomorrow! I’m hosting this year’s event at the infringement festival! Come and see it, as it is a show not to be missed! the show starts at 8:00 sharp, at the Concordia co-op bookstore. Now, to whet your appetite, here’s some poetry:

WHITEWASHED FENCES

Whitewashed fences
Whitewashed faces
Apple sauce dreams of chocolate incense
Under the microscope of mental iniquity

My inaptitudes are not inadequate
Lost among the jetsam,
Founded in deep blood
Forged upon anvils inn furnace-fire hammering.

I wish I could be hammering
I wish I could be hammered
I wish I had the dollar
But I ain’t got the sound

Ain’t got no lettuce
T’ throw all ‘round

Humiliation
frustration
is every where

underground is where the fun is,
underground is where the sun is
but sleeping in the cemetery
is not the option I’ve chosen

so I roam and I ramble,
hike thru brush &bramble
since my life’s a shamble
is it worth the gamble?

No. it isn’t.

Mr. Seek and Dr. Hide

Mr. Seek searches for things
Like the things that he can’t find
Because there is always
Dr. Hide.

Dr. Hide hides things
And forgets where they’re hidden
Dr. Hide   hides the things
That Mr. Seek needs.

Dr, Hide, it seems, must always
Hide the things Mr. Seek needs
And Mr. Seek finds frustration
And useless things all bundled up
Where useful things should be.

Mr. Seek is always searching
For the things that disappear
For Dr. hide hides them
And pretends to join the search!

Dr. Hide hides things
And forgets where they’re hid
Dr. Hide   hides the things
That Mr. Seek did.

Mr. Seek searches for things,
The things that he cannot find
Because there is, as always,
Dr. Hide.

Electric Mayhem

After a humiliating wait
And entering late
We can find our fate

Heavy fines
For having good times
Tainting the positives
And tainting the pronoia
With paranoia and pain

Ears hear as if in a bubble
Ringing out their Tinnitus
Blood coursing in magnetized flow
Thirty thousand watts and three thousand decibels
Hair is flying
Bald heads are bobbing
The whole joint is throbbing

Metallic soundwaves course
And magnetize the iron in the blood
To the extent that the body complains bitterly to the brain
But the brain overrides the pain and insists that a stationary stature be maintained
With bouncing body and banging head
Hair is flying
Everywhere is coursing
With metallic electrical energies
Nuclear blasts of electric mayhem
Frying circuits overloaded
And this catharsis
Is the gratifying reward for

A Humiliating Wait
Of long, drawn-out processes
Elaborated and elongated by others, stretched by outsiders
Beyond all patience

Ears hear as if in a bubble
Ringing out their Tinnitus
Blood coursing in magnetized flow
Thirty thousand watts and three thousand decibels

Hair is flying
Bald heads are bobbing
The whole joint is throbbing

Beyond all patience.

vintage blue bonnets

This is the second in a series of poetry posts by FTB ranter Laurence Tenenbaum in anticipation of his spoken-word performance at the Montreal Infringement Festival next Tuesday, June 21st at the Concordia co-op bookstore. This week, three more offerings. Will you get to hear them live, too? Well, there’s only one way to find out..

Blue Bonnets

Well, straight out of the gate,
I’m a little too late
They don’t race horses here anymore.

The exitement used to build
An audience thrilled
Though gambling and cheating were common

A trip to the past
Where gangsters and mobsters
And my uncle used to bet

On who’s horse would win it
And whose horses wouldn’t
And all of them were
Thoroughbred.

Now the building sits empty, abandoned, alone,
The parking lot is filled with shopping malls now

No more stables,
No more horses,
The city owned it for it’s last few years
But now
Bankrupt.

Maybe somebody won too big a prize.

Nothing Personal

It’s hard not to take it personally
When you keep attacking my person
Harass and harangue
Waste your time and mine
All for a debt
Related to a crime
Which I am the victim
But I Cannot prove
No matter the outcome
I’m set up to lose

Destruction of my integrity
Attack against my being
And for defending myself:
Terminal sentence.

I’m not supposed to take it personally,
But you attack my person
You attack my people
You attack me.

Depression

Constant frustrations, annoyances, and woes
Calls to remind me of all my owes

Evil attacks against my life
Forced to live alone, without children, or wife

No matter what I do, it seems
That I can never win
To most people I’m a loser, before I even can begin

And I live in a world
Where I’m forced to compete
Against a million billion people, who are all better than me

And then there is the fact, that I’m not ‘Pure Laine’
And then there is the fact that I’ve been fired again,
And then there is the fact that I mask my misery to myself

And then there is the fact that I’ve been sitting on the shelf
And the fact that I’ve been dieing inside
And the fact that they want to beat my hide

And then there are all the traps I’ve fallen into
All the baits I’ve taken
The lives I’ve shaken,
And all for what?

35 and a half years, and nothing to show for it
From the time I was small, I wanted to go for it
But always found out that I couldn’t
Since someone else beat me to it
Or I couldn’t go through it,
Usually because I was just too broke to do it

Sometimes I feel like I can’t even afford the things that are “free”
Especially when surrounding it is something with a fee

Constant frustrations, annoyances, and woes,
Call to remind me of my owes.

horse-race

June is here! Which means that the 8th annual Montreal international infringement festival is coming up fast. Last year I displayed paintings, which I will be doing again, at Xpression Gallery. I am also hosting the spoken word show at the Concordia co-op bookstore on June 21st.

During the month of June, I will be posting poetry for the month, some of which I may perform in the festival.

… And they’re off!

I sit here waiting
Ready to spring forth
Holding my breath,
Waiting
For the gate
To open
I hear the bugle call, the gate opens,
And from a standstill we all leap forwards, fast into a quick gallop,

Running like the wind
Around the track
We’ve all got weird names,
And then there’s the money
That our owners and sponsors have bet
On or against us

I’m running round the track with all my might,
Competing against thirteen other horses
And if I lose
I’m good as glue.

The Better Mousetrap

After many years of research
And clinical trials
I found myself still wondering
Couldn’t keep from pondering

After many years of frustrations
In what I’m trying to do
I may think I have the answer
But it ends up in a stew

Everything I’ve tried
Just turned out wrong
I’m trying to invent it
The mice just scurry along

But, I’ve found an answer
That’s been here all along
God’s made a better mousetrap
The notion hit me like a gong

Though the mice may scurry
And seem to escape
My mousetrap is furry
And hunts them

But human greed,
Seems to be in the way
Legions of people to pay
Who insist on a spray

And they, should stay, away!

After many years of research
And clinical toils
To build a better mousetrap
Previously foiled

But now I know the answer
So simple at that
The best type of mousetrap
Is known as…
…The cat.

Things we lost in the fire.

There was a fire
Back at the old house
And we were lucky to escape with our lives
We couldn’t afford insurance,
And we’re lucky to have survived

But of the things I now desire
Include the things I lost in the fire
Like
My typewriter, and my TV set,
My fan and my chairs
My diplomas from school,
My safety power bars,
cables, and wires
All things I lost in the fire.

There was a fire
That an arsonist had set
Back in the old place
We couldn’t afford insurance then,
And we’re lucky we could stay with friends

But of the things that I currently desire
Were among the things we lost in the fire
My golf clubs, and my gardening gear
The lawnmower, the phone,
Left behind in fear,
The fridge and the washer,
The microwave and the dryer,
All of those things we lost in the fire

There was a fire
That an arsonist had set
Back in the old place
We had no insurance then,
We were lucky that we could stay with friends

But of all the things I still desire
Were the irreplaceables lost in the fire
Like all my paintings, on which I worked so hard
My diplomas from school, which I had to earn
That fucking arsonist had to burn
Along with my records,
And all else above

There was a fire
And I got burned.

Once upon a time there was an empty box.

Over time, the box became fuller and fuller, mostly with people’s mindsets.

People were either thinking inside of the box, or deliberately thinking outside the box.

The main trouble with either of those things was that it tended to polarize people’s thinking.

You were either in it or out of it.

The walls of the box were rules that must either be followed or broken,

and it must be either/or instead of simplicity.

I admit it, I’m very sloppy.

I’ve forgotten the box altogether.

I’m like that rogue cop who never bothered to read the book that his partner lives by.

I may be messy, or unorthodox, some of the time, and still, quite clean, neat, and very orthodox much of the rest of the time,

and I often intentionally blur the lines that make up the rules.

In fact, I never really saw this aforementioned box.

~Laurence Tenenbaum

If I was a song, it would be me

There are no letters. There are no emotions. There is no love.

Black is considered the darkest colour of all, my heart has become dark, dark like coal.
I’m not calling you a liar. I’m not calling you a thief. I’m not calling you a ghost.
But your ghost is haunting me, your stealing is killing me and these lies are releasing me.

Many of the moments shared are sweet memories.
Many of the beds shared are not spoken of.
Many of the words I should have uttered are eating me.

White represents the surrendering I am about to commit.
I surrender to myself, I surrender to the universe, I surrender to the karma police.

I can never give the love that is shared amongst the poorest of people in this world.
I can never give the strength that is obtained through protein drinks.
I can never, ever give you me.

As the winds swing between the leafs and the sun curls around the clouds,
I am here standing with nothing but myself.
I have purposely abandoned this idea. The idea of you and me.
For ideas are for idealists and I am but a reality.

Forgive my soul, for I have sinned
Forgive my mind, for I have forgotten.
Forgive me, because it can’t ever be you who will win me.

Blue blood on our hands, warming our skin. I must admit, there isn’t a passion I can resist.
For passion is the deep colour pasted so heavily on my lips.
Passion is the one thing I can never erase, it is what makes my heart drink.
But, drinking is not the answer to everything I’ve forgot.

There are no words. There are no sighs. There is nothing. Nothing you left for you and me.

Once again, Laurence takes off his ranting hat and puts on his spoken-word troubadour one to (virtually) perform us some of his poetry…

Hey Mr. Conductor!

Hey, Mr. Conductor! How much is the fare?
Hey Mr. Conductor!   Please, will you take me there!
Mr. Conductor! Please show me to my seat,
Mr. Conductor, take my ticket, please.

Hey Mr. Porter!
Take my bags for me
Mr. Porter! Load this baggage please,
Mr. Porter, I got a real good tip for you,
Mr. Porter, I’ll pay it when this trip’s through.

I‘m riding her by train
Way across the plains
She’s in my private car
I’m taking her too far…

Hey, Mr. Engineer! Don’t you drive too fast,
Mr. Engineer! I want this trip to last!
Mr. Engineer! Take us across the miles
Mr. Engineer! Drive this train with style!

I‘m riding her by train
Way across the plains
She’s in my private car
I’m taking her too far…

Mr Conductor! This trip hat been so smooth
Mr. Conductor! We’ve got her in the groove!
Mr Porter! Get my baggage please!
Mr. Porter! Here is your money!

I‘m rode with her by train
All the way, out across the plains
She’s was in my private car
But I’ve taken her too far…

Hey Mr. Conductor, we took her for the ride,
Mr Conductor! I’m so glad I didn’t drive!

CLICKETY_CLACK
(The Prison Train)

I’m taken aback
As the lonesome whistle blows
And I hear that sound, once again
Clickety-clack
Clickety-clack

And I’m taken, aback

They’re coming for me
To take me away
For I’ve been a bad boy today
And thus, cometh the prison train

Clickety-clack
Clickety-clack

A chuggin’ choo choo on down the track
Barred windows, and not many of them
That engine is hauling us all to the pen

As the sound comes closer, ever closer
Clickety-clack
Clickety-clack
And the lonesome whistle calls

When the guard prods me, I board
And then I hear the engine rumble
And the lonesome whistle’s howl
And the endless noise the railroad makes
Clickety-clack
Clickety-clack

The endless noise the railroad makes
Clickety-clack
Clickety-clack

And to the pen, I’m going back
Clickety-clack.

Candy

Candy colored, candy covered
Chocolates.
Tasty snack, tasty treat
Tasty, tasty! Good to eat!
Sugar Sugar Sugar Sugar
Candy Candy Candy!

Turn My Knob

COME ON HONEY, WELL,
YOU KNOW I LIKE YOUR SMELL,
OH BABY DON’T YOU KNOW,
I’M IN THE RADIO

I NEED YOU TO TURN MY KNOB
SET THE VOLUME AND SWITCH ME ON
I NEED YOU TO ADJUST MY DIAL
TUNE IN TO ME AND STAY A WHILE

COME ON, HONEY, WELL
I KNOW YOU’RE ON MY SPELL,
AND EVERYWHERE YOU GO,
I’M IN YOUR RADIO

I NEED YOU TO TURN MY KNOB
SET MY VOLUME AND SWITCH ME ON
I NEED YOU TO TURN MY DIAL
TUNE IN TO ME AND STAY A WHILE

COME ON HONEY, WELL,
I KNOW YOU’LL NEVER TELL,
JUST LIKE THE WIND, YOU BLOW,
I AM YOUR RADIO

AND I NEED YOU TO TURN MY KNOB
SET THE VOLUME AND TURN ME ON
I NEED YOU TO SET MY DIAL
TUNE IN TO ME AND STAY A WHILE

–   –

I NEED YOU TO TURN MY KNOB
SET THE VOLUME AND SWITCH ME ON
I NEED YOU TO ADJUST MY DIAL
TUNE IN TO ME AND STAY A WHILE

Support Our Festival

BECOME AN ALCOHOLIC
BUY LOTS OF BEER
LET’S SUPPORT OUR FESTIVAL
WITH TOO MUCH GOOD CHEER

DAY AFTER DAY,
BUY A GALLON A DAY
KILL YOURSELF FOR THE CAUSE

FORSAKE ALL YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES
GIVE ALL YOUR TIME AND FINANCES
TO SUPPORT THE CAUSE,
DON’T THINK OF DIRE CIRCUMSTANCES

LIVE AND BREATHE THE FESTIVAL
BECOME ANOTHER SHILL
AND A REGULAR DRUNKARD,
ONLY PAY OUR BILL

LOSE YOUR PHONE, YOUR POWER, YOUR HOME
IN SUPPORT OF OUR CULT
THAT MAY SEND YOU TO ROAM

LOSE YOUR JOB, YOUR SAVINGS, YOUR FRIENDS
TO SUPPORT OUR LITTLE COVEN
THAT’S HOW IT ENDS.

BECOME AN ALCOHOLIC
BUY LOTS OF BEER
LET’S SUPPORT OUR FESTIVAL
WITH TOO MUCH GOOD CHEER

It’s May. I need better wages. I can’t complain too much about the working conditions at my present job. While they like to toot their own horn about how ethical the company is, I am very lucky to work for one of the most ethical companies in Canada and certainly the best one I’ve worked for to date. As a result, I must rant about something else.

New Topic.

Enough with you guys already: Laurence is tired

Why do we get tired? Why can’t we go on indefinitely, like machines? Why? Why? Why?
Annoying questions from an 8 year old with seemingly boundless energy compared to those of us over 30. I wish I could live like I was still 21. Not that I want to relive that nightmare of a year, I just wish I still had the same level of stamina I had back then, preferably without needing to change any habits.

I find it frustrating that aging is happening, my parents grow older, pains start to form in new places, some of which were not even known about until they started to hurt. I often wish burnout was not a possibility. I often wish there were more hours in a day, or more time to the hour (this of course only applies to breaks when working).

And they say it’s all downhill from here. Funny, but the struggle feels much more like an uphill climb and a rather steep one at that.

Why must it be so wrong to stay up late every night and still go to work the next day perfectly fresh even without any sleep the night before? I know, we’d all go insane if we didn’t sleep but sometimes it seems that sleep is a drag. Tiredness is a drag. Exhaustedness is a drag and I, for one, am tired of dragging and being dragged!

I wish stamina didn’t diminish with age. While most teenagers seem lazy, their young bodies are going through many changes as they are growing up quickly, they seem to have lower stamina, rising back up from about the age of fifteen or so, until it seems to peak at around the age of 20 or 21 and wanes back from there.

This is the point where some people start using certain drugs to start getting back the energy they once had and then some. Not all of these drugs are legal. In fact most are not.

The one major exception, which occurs naturally in so many of the things we eat and drink and therefore cannot be outlawed is caffeine. The illegal ones include Speed, Cocaine, assorted Steroids and so on.

But why does the natural ability diminish with age? I wish I knew the answer, but alas, I don’t.

When I was 18 or 19, I wrote that sleep is a drug. Many people could relate, especially my elders at the time. It went:

Sleep is a drug

Sleep is a drug,
There are withdrawl symptoms
They suck

The withdrawl symptoms suck the life out of me
(from sleep, anyway)

sleep is a drug
a way to spend time without control of mind
now I am tired,
it is the morning
light and sight hurt
from without and within.

Once again, the best cure for complaining is poetry, so here’s four more original pieces to help you get through this Monday:

Laurence the poet/spoken-word artist/musician

The Electric Pickle

It started out
In a science class
Once upon a time

Used to explain
Sodium lamps
With its brine

How would you like a taste
Of my electric pickle?
My voltage rises from it
When my juices trickle

We stuck a fork
Into either end
And connected up a wire

We placed it there,
On some kind of stand
And then watched with awe

How would you like to taste
My electrical pickle?
My voltage rises from it
When my juices trickle

The teacher with
“Don’t try this at home”
Plugged it into the wall

Saying it was
Without measured ohms
Then showed us all

How would you like to sample
My electric pickle?
My amperage rises from it
My ample juices trickle

First the pickle dripped
And then half of it lit up
With a warm amber glow

Then it sizzled a bit
Steam came up
Boy! Did it smell

How would you like a taste
Of my electric pickle?
My wattage rises from it
When my juices trickle

How would you like a taste
Of my electric pickle?
My voltage rises from it
So won’t you give it a tickle

I know you’d like a taste

Come and meet me by the coffee tree

Coffea Aribica

Come and meet me by the coffee tree
We’ll pick and eat it’s long cherries
Pick them, hull them, scrub them, roast them,
Remove the silver skin
Then mill and grind them in

Put the ground up beans into the filter
Then pour the boiling water through
Watch the hot brown liquid drip down
Stir in sugar and milk with a spoon

So meet me down by the coffee tree
The perkiest place in town
It’s down near Dakar, by the sea,
Where the wild things are…

…And where the coffee, grows wild.

High Glass Horse

You mock me, scoff at me
But try to hide it real well
But I see right through your high, glass horse
I can see through, real well

You rant and rave, behind my back
Spreading rumors, like disease
Just get right off of that high glass horse
Or you just might lose your keys

You’ve only hurt yourself
In trying to drum me out
So lose the ‘tude on your high glass horse
You really have no clout

I know that you are jealous of me
But I cannot figure for what
I wish to destroy your High glass horse
You know I’m feeling cut

Now, I realize, that on your wings,
There is only artifice
So get right off of your high glass horse
And try to picture this

You find me annoying, and ugly and dumb
But you’re the one who’s mum about it
You try to damage me, while sparing my feelings
But it hasn’t worked for thee

This ugly idiot sees
Though you can’t understand
I’ve tried to be friends, but you’re just a fiend
I no longer will bother you

And of your horse, you thought opaque
It’s perfectly transparent and clear
So dive right off of your high glass horse
For you now have me to fear

Yes, I’m armed, and completely insane
So much for your ‘physical superiority’s’ use
I’ll kick you down from your high glass horse
For your friendship was a ruse.

Does this look like a bird?

Tow Trucks

Tow Trucks
And wreckers,
Wait there
Ominously

Like vultures,
Waiting…

Waiting for a wreck,
Their carrion.