This poem comes out of the early days in my hometown when I was young poet frequenting open mics and performing whenever I could. The title is a reference to a music and poetry duo I was a part of called Birds of Cray (hence the bird-related references within). The context of the poem is about attending Thursday night open-mic at an Irish-themed dive bar called O’Flannigans (many of my Ktown peeps will no doubt have some memories from there…). Reading poems for (mostly) drunk individuals who (often) didn’t like poetry was (ironically) a positive and liberating experience; a chance to test the waters and reevaluate why I was performing in the first place. The value of poetry is multi-faceted, but at that time I felt strongly that it should be first-and-foremost for personal expression, and secondly, if it could also be edifying, entertaining, or encouraging to even one person in the room, then it was serving its purpose (six years later, I’d say these two have swapped places). If it was solely a bid for the affirmation of other peoples, then I was off the mark (still a struggle!).
Observations on Spoken Word as an Art Form,
“Sick Beaks, Yo!”
I realize that I might have chosen an odd hobby But I hope to warm you to the experience, like a hot toddy When all my friends played electric guitar and got all cocky I'm in the talent show like a nerdy keener: "hi, guys! I do poetry!" And while Spoken word is a kind of strange artistic entity. there are some perks to being a champion of an oddity. Some advantage as a practitioner of novelty And tackling uncharted waters like homers Odyssey I spin the cosmos in a chorus of rhythm and syllables I eat my psychedelic rhymes instead of edibles. I'm bring old school back like Henry's Model T. And when I perform at O Flannigans, Nobody's seen anything like me. So picture this: Thursday night... Muscleheads in snapbacks, giving backslaps and laughing as they pound the shooters. Not quite sure if they can trust this shit, like senior citizens on new computers. Doe-eyed girls approach me like, "THAT... was amazing. Wait - are you a sagittarius??" and I'm like "Oh. My. God. I must be, cause all of my jokes are so hilarious!" but without a doubt when I get my flow going I spit the scariest. Channel my inner Taurus, fully bulldoze the building and bury us. But actually, (full disclosure) I'm a Leo: proud and flexing for my lioness. These words are less kitten around than they are dangerous Twixt marvel and mayhem lies a line that's precarious and even a single glimpse of true beauty can cause paralysis. And I grant that this craft is a little more obscure A little "niche-y" like toddler version of German philosopher. But we got the lake of fire fueling our chariots Climb the mountain on a foothpath of terrible narrowness. Tear you into a million Pisces without an ounce of pity, I run the stage like my empire, so call me Nefertiti. Some of you just sat up in your seats, like "did he just say titties??" Whoa! I mean the ancient Egyptian monarch, guys, just take it easy... A deadly bird of cray was sighted, the crowd has run amok. But truly, it remains our purpose to provoke the populace. We cross these borders of genre & style with impunity dropping knowledge bombs at every single opportunity. Mind-bend the spoon - reality is a construct We repurpose the inner darkness and host a potluck. Then skip town, head south for the winter like we don’t give a fuck Jack Kerouac on the train track - San Francisco or bust. Peace and love.
[Poem: circa 2014. Image credit: Nils Loewen.]
*Disclaimer: I actually know very little about horoscopes, I just like the rhymes; apologies if I have cast your sign in an inaccurate light.
**Have to give a shout-out to the dudes at Rebirth Design, a Kelowna artisan duo who custom-made the leather bird masks you see in the photo – find their projects here: