NaPoMo poetry party.26


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Joel Clements is a graphic designer, documentary photographer, and widely involved creative soul who lives in Richmond Hill, Ontario with his fabulous wife Andrea, and two adorable cats. I have witnessed the exceptional work of Joel’s hands in his woodworking, cabinetmaking, and renovating. His vintage canoe is one example of his loving and meticulous process of preserving things of beauty.

To have a creative conversation with Joel is best enjoyed with a cold craft brew in your hand and a good chunk of time to sit and wonder together. For now I’m just going to imagine the day that will happen again, and enjoy our virtual chat.

Joel is my brother, and my friend. Welcome to Buddy Breathing, JC. Your websites HERE and HERE are great resources for folk to dig in and find out more about you, and experience more of your work. Today you’ve brought us a poignant poem, and a photograph, but let’s dig first into the answers to three questions.

Lesley-Anne: We often say we wish we had more time for certain things. Are you spending your time differently in view of our current world challenges? If so, how?

Joel: I’ve been a self-employed creative for almost 14 years, so working from home hasn’t required an adjustment besides adapting to sharing the house 24/7 with my wife. Social distancing and travel restrictions are definitely having an effect on my photography. Last year at this time I was preparing for a month long documentary assignment in Malawi. I have taken the opportunity to play a little – with my Polaroid cameras and some mixed-media art projects. I take a little time out of work each day to do some art for art’s sake.

Lesley-Anne: Why is art important?

Joel: Creativity is central to my being. I love to create, and experience things that other people have created.

Lesley-Anne: What is one surprising thing that happened today?

Joel: I received a request to submit a poem to Buddy Breathing.

Your photo and poem are gifts that seem so well suited to each other. Thank you for taking us here.

Love and hope,
Lesley-Anne

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Downtown Toronto under lock down.

Grief Moved In

Blue sweatshirts,
sweat-stained,
darkened,
sled labelled boxes
down the hall
jammed with
box-spring skeletons,
and grunt
a piano up
the stairs

The sofa rests hard
on soft shoulders,
carried away
from an empty
shrunken room.

We sit hard
on hardwood floors,
listen to squeals
of dolly wheels
rolling up plywood
ramps, eat
fried chicken
from the bucket,
sharing memories
with deaf walls
as grief moves in.

 

NaPoMo poetry party.22


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Brigitta Davidson
is in the house! Brigitta please catch us up on what’s happening in your life right now. I hear you are back in Kelowna for the time being after continent hopping for the past four months with your family.

Brigitta: This entire year has been a strange whirlwind honestly. I’ve had to move home because of COVID-19, however, I’m currently converting an old cargo van into a home and I plan to move into that with my partner once it’s all finished. The hope for this summer is to hang about the interior in the van and spend as much time outside as possible. Lots of hiking, climbing and swimming to be had!

And I am currently completing my 3rd year at UVIC on the island for a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and business.

Lesley-Anne: We often say we wish we had more time for certain things. Are you spending your time differently in view of our current world challenges? If so, how?

Brigitta: I notice I have been oscillating between spending more time doing tangible, enjoyable, wholesome activities and doing nothing at all. On days when its sunny and I’m feeling mentally positive and motivated I will go for a run, do embroidery, read, play music. However, if I’m feeling isolated or sad or anxious, I find I will spend hours in a wormhole on my phone or lie on the kitchen floor for a good while not even getting up if I have to pee. It is a strange thing to be bouncing between feeling inspired and wallowing to the point of wasting an entire day. I suppose it is good to have enough time to see the degree to which I really fluctuate whilst learning both how to be okay with it and (also importantly) how to deal with it.

Lesley-Anne: Gosh, I hear you. I feel similar wild fluctuations of dread and emptiness followed by bursts of inspired creative activity. Why is art important?

Brigitta: I feel that art is entirely pointless, and that is why I believe it to be the pinnacle of the human experience. Art has this uncanny ability to move people. It can unite them, divide them, inspire them depress them etc… I think emotions are at the core of the human experience and art is one of the most powerful ways we can connect to our emotions. Aside from our imposed meanings and enjoyment of art it serves no practical purpose. It is one of the few things we, as a species choose-nearly unanimously – as integral to society although it serves no utilitarian purpose. In a post-enlightenment world that is rather astounding.

Lesley-Anne: What is one surprising thing that happened today?

Brigitta: I was surprised that I ran out of time to do all the things that I wanted. Today was a good day, one where I was motivated and enjoyed the time I spent. However, even in this time of isolation where I am on hiatus from work and school there still seem not to be enough hours in the day.

Thanks for spending time with us, Brigitta, and my hope is this will lead you into another really good day. You mentioned to me that you are inspired to be more active at your poetry blog which already has great content. So, after you share your poem, people are invited to head over to your blog to read more of your work.

Happy nesting and tiny home making to you,
Lesley-Anne

gentle and small and turbulent
in a messy, rushing world
sometimes I feel like a pebble drowning in the rapids
or peaceful like the sea foam gently lapped up by shores
expansive like open waters
and small like scrapes set alight by the salt
we are simply people falling in and out of love
gentle and small and turbulent

NaPoMo poetry party.10


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Norm Millross is a creative spirit who finds truth and healing through visual art, guitar, songwriting, poetry, and his faith. His resilience is contagious. For several years Norm and I met at Metro Community for our weekly poetry circle, where he wowed me with his prolific writing. Norm’s poem I Can is installed as one of two bright blue panels in the courtyard of Kelowna’s Gospel Mission where it lifts spirits and speaks of a power to overcome. I’m so thrilled to have Norm here, and for him to share a new poem with us.

Norm, we’ve been asking everyone a series of 3 questions, focusing on current circumstances and how we are coping in them. Here is what you said in response:

1. We often say we wish we had more time for certain things. Are you spending your time differently in view of our current world challenges? If so, how?

Norm: No, not really. Time is already very precious to me as I’ve experienced serious cardiac events.

2. What is the core factor that brings vitality and life to you?

Norm: It is hope; hope in humanity.

3. What is one surprising thing that happened today?

Norm: Not much, I was stuck in my room. But I am starting to get a lot of music theory back, after struggling post concussions. It’s starting to make sense again, which is really good.

On this Good Friday, when we would have traditionally gathered together to celebrate one of the foundational elements of our shared faith, I find it appropriate that you and I are here in spirit, Norm, and your poem is about believing in miracles.

Peace and continued good health, my friend,
Lesley-Anne

I Believe in Miracles

I believe in love
I believe in fantasy
I believe in what was
I believe in the reckoning
I believe I am me
I believe there is power
I believe I am free
I believe there is good
I believe there is bad
I believe in the question
I believe I’m not mad
I believe I am real
I believe there is pain
I believe there is freedom
I believe I am sane
I believe love can happen
I believe it is real
I believe love is magic
I believe love can heal.

Norm Millross, 2020 ©