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Category Archives: True Stories

…a little bit about an event Britta B. performed on June 30th, 2012 at Ngoma Lounge in Toronto, Canada.

May 28th, 2012 at Mike Geffner’s Inspired Word in Manhattan, New York.

i’ve created delight. pulling my hair.
pretending it’s you.

i can pinch and know it’s me pinching
i can scratch and know it’s me scratching
i can bite and know it’s my mouth
i can lick and kiss and rub and frisk my whole body
and not be able to trick myself

but pulling my hair. i’m convinced it could be you.

i twirl. and twist.
a handful of waves // damp
bottom hair
never sees the sun // i pull.
as hard as i want to.

as hard as you would
if i told you to. (hey, a little harder next time)

i’ve created delight.
pretending it’s you, pulling my hair.

Britta B.

Last week I had a conversation with a friend
and without meaning to inspire me he reminded me,
“The whole point of language is to be understood”

I wrote that down on a piece of paper in hopes of saving it for later,
“The whole point of language is to be understood”…

It’s funny ’cause just a few weeks ago
this friend of mine was a stranger
And years before that, the English language was even stranger

For instance, I remember when I was a baby; I had my own
ways of communicating:

Cry if I’m hungry
Cry if I’m sick or scared
Laugh if I fall down
Or cry again if someone’s watching just to have them
pick me up and hug me

Since then, I’ve learned so many words to help others understand what I want
but sometimes the things we say
can turn into ghosts that haunt
the backyards and playgrounds
of our hearts
Maybe that’s why making new friends can be so hard

I get shy just giving people my name sometimes
because I’ve come to realize
I’m not so easily defined…

First of all,
I consider myself lucky. I have scars to remind me
there’s a survivor underneath all this skin

This skin, is a smooth rocky-road brown
bordered with train tracks reminding me of where I’ve been
and how I got here
This skin, holds me close
like it knows it’s got something good inside,
something too good to let go

I’ve got skin to keep me together when I feel
like my world’s falling apart

Hey, look- so do you

But just because yours ain’t the same as mine
don’t mean you should treat me any different

What I do with my hands is far more important
than the colour of skin they are wrapped up in
That’s like if I gave you a present and you spent more time
criticizing me for the way I gift-wrapped it
than noticing what I put inside

Take a look at what’s inside!

Don’t let all this skin I’m dressed up in fool you
I am human too

It is so cliché
to talk about how cliché it is to it is to say
to “Never judge a book by its cover”
But I bet the world be a much better place if we just opened up
and gave each other a chance to get to know one another

I have a story, I bet you do too

Britta B.

I recently realized that my parents got married
during the week of the year that holds the record for highest
rates of suicide and depression.

Isn’t that lovely?

Romantic?

Intriguing?

How often is a foreshadow supposed to fly over your head?

They got married that week to cure their desperation –they eloped. Therefore,
my life was fixed; I was born into fear, naivety
I was raised by two children who never grew up because they were raised by
children too
and never got to feel mature love
affection
attention
even when it wasn’t deserved

They needed each other;
they were still at the stage where they had to hold hands to
cross the road
because they were too afraid of losing control of each other

(Maybe that’s why I’m still sitting here on a curb
waiting for someone who is never coming to get me)

…I think about how my Ma text me today saying she was
in a ‘grumpy mood’
and couldn’t grasp a clue as to why. I staple the facts
that they separated a year and a half ago and their 23rd anniversary
is technically this week to a memo-memory
and put it in the
“Re: the worst week of the year” files of my mind

I come across about a hundred more weeks living at home 
tucked into the folder…
It’s sad to see they missed the clues

It’s sad to see I miss them too, together
And now

Never again.
 
               Even if it’s for the better
it’s still the ‘Never’ that taunts you.

Everyone wants their parents to be the ones to prove
that people in this world
can keep a promise

Because when your parents get a divorce

                                you start to believe

that there’s a possibility
somebody could stop loving you.

Britta B.

When I was young, my parents were the Superintendents of an 11-storey apartment building on Leroy Grant Dr. in Kingston, Ontario.

The basement had a garbage room, a party room, storage rooms, and of course, a boiler room. My dad was the only person in the whole building who had the key to every room save for the large, steel bolted door at the very end of the hall that nobody even at Head office had a key for. I convinced myself that it was the door to Hell.

One day, my dad and I were cleaning up the garbage room and he decided to play a game of Hide&Seek on me. As I’m walking down the hallway towards the elevator, I catch a dark man peeking at me from around the corner of the boiler room. “Haha, I see you!” I giggle.

Right then, the elevator door opens up and it’s my father, standing in the flesh with a smirk on his face, “Who are you talking to?”

I sink into confusion and demand him to tell me how he got from the boiler room into the elevator so fast without me noticing. He assures me he was never in the boiler room.

Goosebumps cover my skin.

My dad gets out and walks down the hall. His eyebrows raise as he looks at me to say the boiler room door isn’t even open. He jiggles the doorknob and it’s locked…

So, what did I see?

Britta B.

When Erica gets home,
she urgently takes off the four inch black “leather” heels
and searches for blisters or some other redness to confirm the
discomfort across the edges of her feet

When nothing is there,
she admires the mini canvases of her toes
freshly painted from the night before
and thinks of her mother

***

Despite the otherwise blatant displacement of
emotional abuse at the time,
Erica’s mother manages to string a compliment together
one quiet evening, on the verge of divorcing Erica’s alcoholic father:

“You have really nice feet.
Your toes line up like a staircase, leading up and away
from everything that’s wrong with the rest of us.
And your heels are soft. Nothing like mine.”

Befuddled, her only response is the pinch of her eyebrows
and a mental note
made specifically to remember the sound of this moment
and the feel of seeing something she did not notice before

***

Erica scurries off to her room after being greeted home by a roommate
They’re not close enough to hold conversations beyond
the acknowledgement of each other’s presence
Although she doesn’t mind, she often wonders if any of them do

She notices a piece of mail leaned against the door of her bedroom
and picks it up to see that the front of the envelope
has a bit of a message written on it by the in-house delivery man
“Hope you’re having a great day!”

She smiles and instantly knows which roommate wrote it
then sits to take the weight off of her feet and considers:
The best gifts aren’t hand-wrapped or even bow tied with ribbon
They are ripped open with the eyes and squeezed by the soul

Britta B.

The woman claims to have trouble sleeping
Falling asleep and staying asleep
But has no problem closing her eyes when she kisses
No problem lying down with a man

She wears down the mattress with too much of her mind on her heart
And not enough heart to tell it to leave
She is strong in her weakness
Inviting men into her sleepless patterns of sleeping together
“Keep me company,” she requests over the phone
As the sun tucks itself away onto the bottom shelf of the world
 
Sometimes it’s just the weight of a person beside you in bed
That makes you feel safe enough to disappear for awhile

Her qualms are valid; what if I forget to wake up?
What if I fall into a sleep so deep
I forget all that I am?

It’s funny how no matter how many details of dream you can recall,
You can never quite recall it the way
It precisely occurred

To the woman, falling in love is just the same as falling asleep-
A lot of work

A lot of her mind going to a man’s heart lying
Thirty thousand feet away from his head
When she’d rather lay with him, skin breathing skin
Limbs stacked on limbs
And dreaming
With her eyes open

Unable to explain the truth

 
Britta B.

Today I had the leisure of going on a nice autumn adventure to my neighbourhood’s Value Village. For those of you who don’t know, Value Village (or the double Vee) is a very popular second-hand thrift shop here in Canada. I managed to pick up a few new vinyls to add to my collection of one, all from Canadian artists/bands that I never heard of before.

At first, I was hoping to find a few artists that I actually enjoyed listening  to, but then I decided to indulge based solely off the ones I thought had the most interesting album artwork. I came across a group called “General Public” and liked the way they had all of these interpretations of what a “hand to mouth” (their album title) looks like.

When I came home, I searched for their music on YouTube and found a video for “Too much or nothing”. The video was ridculously too long (intended perhaps?) but I still like the theme of this song.

What do you think? Does everything really come down to being either ‘too much or nothing’ or is there an in between?

Britta B.

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