the promise

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the promise
fell
into my arms
unbidden
unspoiled
like raindrops
in early spring
touching skin
with cold, fresh lips

I was safe here
within these walls
afraid to move beyond
the lines
curves
dug deep
in the wooden floors

I could not say
where my feet
bare and bleeding
walked for years
skin cut
and callous
trailed
behind

the promise
stuck like a tick
in long wild grass
as I passed
through

I was the sky
in dreams
while storms raged
sun shone
and the moon
floated
above the fields

I was safe here
and the promise
was broken.
~

la fraser March 1, 2017

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Hello February

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The winter limps along and my head is already in spring. It is only the beginning of February I know, but Spring feels closer. I like that. January was a blur. So much volatile energy and events going on in the world, I did not make much time to post or write. I made no resolutions at the beginning of the year, not formal ones anyway, and as this month begins, I am not sure that I will attempt any new projects until the spring actually arrives. Instead, I feel like I am on retreat. Other than going to work and doing some teaching, I am spending my days writing poetry and meditating. It feels like the best thing to do. Of course, tomorrow I may change my mind and I will launch into a brand new project, but not today.

– la

 

birth II

reach the light

nose pressed to the glass
they watch and wait
to see what is growing beneath
my mushroom soup skin
seconds
minutes
hours
measure
the space between
a speaker I cannot see
comes alive with sound
‘breathe’
‘do not move’
‘you are doing great’
she tells me
copper pennies sit on my tongue
pleased to settle among the rocks and mud
I wait to be born
to slide out of this long corridor
be released
please
wrap me
in lavendar
the metal sings with current
piercing through to image
save the stories of feet growing
in my left breast
for another day
pause
then wipe the vomit
from my lips
before returning again
to the peep show
lay me to rest
under the blue-green screen haze
naked
shivering
inside this magnetic resonance
let me wait
dreaming of a gentler day
before the nurse presses
another warmed blanket
to my skin
and wheels me away.
~

Jan 21, 2017
Leigh-Anne Fraser

Today I attended a poetry workshop hosted by the London Poetry Slam. It’s the first time in a little more than 21 years that I have taken part in something like this (way back in university) and definitely the same amount of time has passed since I read aloud a poem that I wrote to a group of mostly strangers.

A lot has changed in the past couple of decades, not the least of which my ability to set aside my anxiety and let my voice be heard. I used to have very few problems standing on stage to sing, to speak or act. Theatre, performance and poetry were an very important outlet for me when I was in high school and university. Sadly, things changed, and I stopped stepping on stage at all, for many reasons, but mostly because I was afraid to. I am still afraid to. Today was scary and cathartic.

My oldest came with me. This is their scene – their friends. I am the outlier, but definitely a welcome one. Those who are part of the Slam community naturally create a safe space. I am very grateful for that. Now that I am officially settled in London after moving here in June, and I have recovered from some health issues/ surgeries, I really want to find ways to be more involved in the community (in addition to my work of course).

The workshop was an incredible for me. Small in size but manageable and led by the gifted Kyra who gave us some collaborative work to do, and then some solo time to write. Throughout the process, I was intrigued by what theme continued to be returned to me. Birth. A topic I could certainly spend years writing poems about. The poem above was birthed from the collaborative prompts we crafted as a group and shared.

It is a deeply personal poem, and one that I had not really anticipated on coming up, but it did. I know from writing with my friends at DD, and our promise to ‘dive deep’, that I would honour whatever did arrive today. I did that. I cried when I read the words. Partially, I did because I was so anxious about speaking to the group and reading out loud, and partially because of the subject matter. I was safe to and I am very grateful for that as well.

I was brave, and the group was brave right along with me.

pretty cool.

la.

Any Ordinary Day {2009}

follow me

 

I started putting together a project seven years ago called 365 Ordinary Days.. it was the lead up to a book project that I did for my kids in 2012 called Any Ordinary Day. The main goal of both projects was to find a way to illustrate the beauty that I see around me every day. It doesn’t matter what the day is, what is going on in my life or around me… I have always looked for and found beauty. I wanted to be able to share that with my kids, and certainly anyone else who wanted to see.

Recently I have been going through old photo files, in a half-assed attempt to organize and archive properly and I rediscovered both projects. I may start them again, with some more recent work, or I may actually finish the 2009 project… I haven’t decided.

To have a look at the work in progress and both projects, follow the links 🙂

the original project:

https://flic.kr/s/aHskPNRwku

the book:

http://www.blurb.ca/b/390354-any-ordinary-day-by-leigh-anne-tyson?ebook=328557

 

 

one

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One
Revolution
On the turn table,
Once around.
Needle to the groove
To free the music trapped
In black vinyl
What if instead
I slipped under the arm
Let the needle play
In the folds and curved mountains
What would you hear?
Would you hear what I do?

A thousand tiny disasters
Shut my mouth tight
For days, months, years
Today let it play
This messed up,
turnabout song
That I am in such a rush
To end
So that the next song
Can play a little louder

Revolve
Evolve
Let the needle wander
To the center
To where the hole
Meets the song’s end
Vinyl death
Stillness
And
Silence sits with me
Toe tapping and grinning
Like an idiot

Just let it turn
Let it ride over the Scars
Missing pieces
Old dried up tears
Broken dreams
Stolen voices
Ragged body
Up to the joy
You keep hiding

Let it ride
Silence says
In that annoying
Smug way
She is a smart ass
And I love her

I am the groove
The space between
This breath and the next
The music and the pause
And here
Is where I began
Gave birth to possibility
And watched it grow
Through the limbs of my offspring
One revolution
One turn
To face the music
Inside of me
~

la fraser

birds and invented cages

 

driving home 7

I have no time for the sideshow.
the flare and fire
nor the distraction

the night scares me.

alone, I sit
a bird in an invented cage
sandwiched between walls of concrete and steel
because it is not safe
to wander where the crickets sing
or follow the park paths through the bushes
or stand where the flourescent light floods
concrete parking lots

it is still not safe

please, continue to argue
about poles and morality
become the sideshow
pull the curtain
hide in the rhetoric and opinion

but don’t forget

it is still not safe
even between these walls.

~

lei fraser Sept 2016

Thank you

In the turning, the calling
Waiting for a storm
That never comes
Disappeared somewhere over the Great Lakes
Stories in the wind
Heard along highways,
In parks and city streets
In between this wave and the next
Breaking the shore
The soul breathes
Humble goodbyes
Pen to paper
In a sea of thoughts
And dreams
I remember
A note in the darkness
Rips like thunder
Through my heart
.

deep night

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I

the fan makes tired conversations
endless turns beat an uninvited rhythm
on the window sill
I listen to the deep night
perched on the table edge
staring at me while I fail to sleep
I did not ask for this
no matter how much you try to convince me
slowly pulling time through shadows
and darker places
I did not
close my ears fast enough
or my eyes
while the sun sipped
on the last moments of sky
I should have slept then
under the heaviness I felt
closed the curtains
not listened
to you
you would have me write more
about what no words can fill
or feel
unbearable
extraordinary
potholes
broken asphalt
concrete cracked and split in two
oh yes. things grow in the gaps
how could they not
with all the mud stuck in between
perfect for growing wildflowers
or weeds depending
you would have me write about love
as though in the darkness
somehow it would make sense
long enough
to articulate
you would have me write about brokeness
emptiness, loneliness
that you have dressed in love’s clothes
you would have me write in tears
in blood in memory
but I will not have it.
those holes remain
empty cups unfilled
in this deep night
you would have me pretend
in the sorting of words
somehow there would be healing
not more undoing
but I don’t believe you.
I don’t.
you would have me listen,
perched there like a dare
instead
close my eyes
fill my outstretched hand
and let me sleep.
please.
please.
I feel you the way holding my breath
pushes
chest heaves in discomfort
no.
these things you edge closer with
are paper thin
in their existence
I want more than shadows
you torment me with your thinking,
soft words and abandon
closing
one last turn
we will talk in the morning.
~

waiting

A robin hops through mud
and dead grass while I wait
Blue sky hiccupping white clouds
Sunlight interrupted
Spring wrestles with last snow
In the shadows of the lodge
Somewhere along the minutes and hours
today
I lost
Lost the light and laughter
Pulled down by tiny barbs
Hooked through skin
The robin looks at me
Before hammering his beak
into the bare unfrozen ground
Searching for supper
Vine lost in the lattice work
Empty garden
Waiting