poem: retribution

poem: retribution

(113 words) 12 Sept 2018

by Steven R.A. Markin

 

i don’t mind the rain,
and not having heat to stay warm.
or the restless nights
and the early mornings that follow.
i don’t mind being alone
in my room,
or in the library,
or in my backyard,
working endlessly on a computer
making nearly nothing in return.
a head overwhelmed with ideas
too far back,
and never fast enough.
without a division of labour,
just me
and i’m used to it.

this isn’t about motivation,
or driven to succeed,
or making money,
fuck money,
this is about me.
retribution.
you misused my name,
and you will know that you did.

i am still a nice guy
and i am gone for good.

Short Story: Another Failing Artist.

Short Story: Another Failing Artist.

(441 words) 28 August 2018

By Steven R.A. Markin

Most of his time in the spring had been spent walking trails and enjoying the outdoors after a long Canadian winter of school and a rough breakup. The paths where his refuge, walking meditation is what he would tell people who stopped him to chat quickly. He was friendly and nice, and many people seemed to enjoy chatting with him, but he didn’t care to talk too long. He often wanted to keep moving. Keep the thoughts going and experience as much of the environment as he could.

The hikes came to an abrupt end one morning.

And nearly three months later, he still can’t seem to ease his mind, even after getting back to the gym, eating healthy and sleeping on schedule, speaking with counsellors, and enjoying conversations with his family and friends again. But unable to go back, and unable to feel like himself, even during a walk throughout the day as the helicopter would often fly overhead, just as it flys above, over and over again throughout the days, the early mornings, afternoons and late nights, and even slowed down on his way from school, as if stopping above to look down on him, reminding him and making him feel even worse of a person, like he is someone who is not.

He was told to regain his life back, he thought. To live again. He knows it deep down that he must live again because they don’t know him as his friends and family do. They only go off of assumptions. Maybe trying to ruin him just like the media so easily did without any evidence, with two broadcastings, in the newspaper, and a goddamn tweet. But of course, the news moves on to the next. Everyone does, but only him, he is left to walk with these thoughts of desecration feeling like he is a nobody in a city until his case is resolved. Resolved, he repeated to himself. Then what? Maybe he’ll get to go to school in the fall. Perhaps he won’t, he thought. Maybe bankruptcy will be enough to finally create the art that had so wonderfully graced his depression. But who creates art to make money, he thought. Money, he laughed saying to himself. Money is all that they are interested in. He told the truth, and now the truth is, he would rather be another failing artist who escapes in his paintings, a recluse, than someone who makes others feel like shit. And maybe one day, someone will hang one of his paintings with a smile instead of the tears and heartbreak it took for him to colour the blank canvas.


his paintings

poem: your new screensaver

poem: your new screensaver

(171 words) July 2018

by Steven R.A. Markin

paint covers the black canvas.
blotches on the side of my hands
underarm,
and fingers.
supplies scattered throughout my room,
my fat cat sleeps in the corner
on a bed sheet,
snoring,
and the music plays low.
the products have yet to be painted,
the book has yet to be completed,
the skills have yet to be improved,
money invested,
and all nights,
i paint, and i write,
to 4 or 5 a.m.
and when i sleep,
i dream in colours
mixed, brushed
and illustrated.
the banks aren’t kind,
the bills don’t stop,
interest rates increase,
fees,
and student loans,
and no word from the lawyer.
you tell me about your new screen saver,
a painting,
i painted
and sent you.
if this world wants to ruin me,
i will paint the bleak canvas,
i will write on the walls,
and i will be the one
no matter what,
slouched over,
broken to pieces,
and old,
crying,
with pride.
do your best,
i will not give up
for you
and you.


My acrylic paintings for sale

Finding your identity while dealing with depression.

Finding your identity while dealing with depression.

July 2018

by Steven R.A. Markin

If you are like me, then you have had many changing ideas of who you are and what you want to be throughout your lifetime. I have wanted to be Batman, most of the Ninja Turtles (too dumb to be Donatello), a Ghostbuster, and a writer, and pretty much anything that I have had an interest in. I still want to be Batman, but I don’t think it is going to happen, because, I mean, you have to be Bruce Wayne to be Batman, and I have no idea how to be a Billionaire; therefore, I am a writer.

I have had quite the imagination and always wanted to be important to people. As life has gone on, life events have inevitably occurred, I have lost more than I thought I could handle, and I have had to learn that being an older sibling and first born comes with great responsibly (almost a Spiderman reference!). I have saved my mom’s life, twice. But I have felt lost, and still do most days, when it comes to what I want to be. My friends are in relationships, working in their careers, and coming home to their spouse and even children (and dogs – I want a puppy!). Which is excellent, and I am happy for them, but what am I doing wrong? Sure, they seem stressed, and when I would ride my bike or go to the gym for 3 hours, I wasn’t very stressed, and some of them were jealous, but I was jealous of them for working towards what they wanted. When asked what I do, I say that I am a writer, and occasionally, someone takes an interest in what I have to say, and this motivated me to learn more.

But I am a time waster. I have been lazy and putting my focus in the wrong direction. In a relationship, I am one of those people who focus on the other person too damn much. I end up losing myself after a period of time because of no longer doing the things that make me, me. Instead of writing at night, as I almost always do when I am single, I will be watching a movie and cuddling. Lovely, I know, and I miss it, but why do I stop altogether? I never stop talking about being a writer, or telling people that I am working on a short story, or a poem, or I am a part of the Alberta Writers Guild . . . Blah blah blah. The thing is, I don’t balance my time well, and I should find time for both the relationship with my significant other and the person I am dating (it’s funny to me). Seriously, there needs to be a balance, time for yourself. Keep working at your craft because saying that I am something gives me purpose.

What gives me a sense of identity, being a writer does remember? Although I have had many journals, and I have loved creative writing in class, I have had a hard time with words: pronouncing words, understanding words, and remembering them have been a great challenge for me. My vocabulary is quite limited to how I talk if I don’t use my resources, but this also makes my stories more understood to a broader range of audience. In university, I would do rather well with creativity and understanding of the content, but I was significantly penalized because of grammatic errors. I got tired of losing senseless marks. It is hard to say you are something when you aren’t good at being that something, but I am a writer.

So, I went to workshops. I went to plenty, even ones that I already thought I knew about, and I came out with learning something new, even if it were just one thing. (I am surprised how many students do not use workshops that we pay for in our tuition!). I purchased grammar books and read them on my way to school most mornings and during summer break, and re-read them, and again. Boring, I know, but I hated not understanding my craft. I wasn’t good at English, but I am a writer. In college, I won an English Award and on the envelop read Engblish. Sums up my life. Anyway, I worked at learning and gaining tools that helped me identify myself as a writer. The idea of identity provides a purpose for me, and, allows me to look at life in a certain way. I am often listening to others and paying attention to conversations (yup, I admit it), but it allows me to wander through life being more active and listening. I use a lot of what I see and hear, life experiences, in my work (a lot of depressing undertones – haha); although most of my work sits in piles and in journals and in my head (which is a different story), I have plenty to offer. But one thing is for sure, my mindset is that of a writer.

How do I put my identity into practice?

  • I joined a writer’s guild. It is free for students, and when I joined it, I looked for others who are involved.
  • I listened to what they had to offer, not so much their work because I don’t have too much time to spend.
  • I look to see what events are being held, contests in magazines, or seminars, I try to be proactive in experiencing as much as I can on writing that not only allows me to gain knowledge of my craft but helps me to see the bigger picture: that being someone is important to me.

Why is having an identity so crucial for someone who suffers from depression?
I don’t know. Maybe because it keeps me active and provides a feeling of importance. I have spent the better part of this year trying to finish my work and as mentioned, being included with others who are like-minded. This has given me a lot. Yes, I have come a long way from secluding myself in 2007 (downright isolating myself for nearly 3 years), I am depressed some days, and somedays working and even getting out of bed is too much, and then I think of how I feel when I am working on my craft, when I am writing poems or a short story. Sure, I often try for a 20-minute walk to clear my head and if my depression is too severe, I stand outback focusing on my breathing, but something happens, I get an urge to do what makes me feel like me, and that is to write or to do something that is associated with being creative. And to be honest, writing has saved my life. Not only just to get out of bed some days, or to help me sleep once I get a lot out of my head onto paper, but without this identity that I have given myself, I would be completely lost and even feeling worthless. I would rather be lost in life but with a purpose (because I am a writer).

Our attitudes towards ourselves and perceptions of life are essential. I don’t believe in being positive all the time. I think this is like lying to yourself, so be honest and real, and just know that you can and will make it through. Do your best to stay true to yourself, find who you are, and learn all you can because we experience life differently, which is exciting to be different, but some people share a lot in common, find these groups if needed. And maybe being different is for a reason: more diversity and more identities, and perhaps even a richer life (not Bruce Wayne rich, but, like, with a purpose.)

Thanks for reading.


My acrylic paintings for sale on etsy

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poem: a loose tooth hangs

poem: a loose tooth hangs

(161 words) July 2018

by Steven R.A. Markin

 

a loose tooth hangs
from his mouth.
the other teeth are perfectly
inline.
he wiggles the tooth and pulls it,
still attached to inflamed gums.
trying to ignore the stinging
and the nuisance of the tooth,
he carries on walking
on a sunny Saturday
afternoon.
a black bus with tinted windows passes
as he walks the sidewalk.
screams of cheer,
younger voices,
like the ones, he goes to school with.
the bus turns into a gas station,
a couples guys exit,
blue jeans and black shirts,
staggering.
more guys looking the same,
walking much the same,
following,
inline.
a few females,
and then a few more,
skirts and booty jean shorts
all in plaid shirts
tied at their waists.
all the same
all inline,
still screaming with cheer.

the man pulls on his tooth,
detaches,
a little blood,
a little sting.
“i never did fit in,” he said gripping his tooth while walking up a hill listening to the cheers quiet.

 


my acrylic paintings for sale

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poem: uncle george

poem: uncle george

(339 words) July 2018

by Steven R.A. Markin

my photo album knocked over, and pictures fell to the ground
memories scattered on the floor,
and one stood out
that I haven’t seen in years,
and sadly,
I haven’t thought of you in a long time.
It is from ’88,
i was two-years-old sitting next to uncle George.
You had both of your legs in the picture,
a large gut,
and you were looking at me smiling.
I am smiling and looking away.
My hoods up,
and your jackets not done up,
we were in Edmonton
on a bench.
You use to take me to the falls
we would feel the water mist,
and hike,
and climb,
as high as we could.
sometimes we would take my cousin, Candice,
but we know you loved me the most.
Did I tell you that she nearly killed me
by kicking a boulder down the mountain,
well, it bounced over my head,
she bought me bags of candy to keep quiet.
whoops.
don’t worry,
she also tried to teach me karate
to fight off my bullies.
honestly, though,
I can’t seem to remember much,
I remember each time you visited,
you went from a cane with one leg,
then to a wheelchair,
with no legs.
I recall you being lively with your words,
fun and energetic when I was around.
Dad says that you were a bullshiter,
who lied, but meant well.
I think you owe him 20$.
I remember us getting the phone call,
and we got in the van and drove to Edmonton
from Calgary that very day.
We didn’t do that for grandpa,
Ray,
or Grandma.
I remember the room being dim,
Auntie stood next to the bed,
and Candice.
I was young, but they all said you haven’t spoken,
not a word from your mouth.
You looked at me, and Auntie said
that was the happiest you have looked.
I walked over
and you spoke.
I never heard what you said,
and it has bothered me.
But maybe Uncle George,
that was the point:
now I listen.

 


my acrylic paintings for sale

poem: purple

poem: purple

(132 words) 25 June 2018

by Steven R.A. Markin

i was told that purple represents passion
i respond by saying, once it goes purple
you know you have been passionate.

passion resonates deep within
an energy that needs to be attended to
properly.
an inclusion to the world
an intra-
and inter-
connection.
we would be so much better off
than having more than just a month,
June
to celebrate.
the streets are celebrated,
the lives are celebrated,
the lives matter; they have always mattered
and will always matter.
there is more to life than what we have been told
allow the energy deep within
be proud,
be bold,
and celebrate
each and every day
much like in June,
allow the passion
not hate
to pave the way
like rainbows to gold.
so each and every person
can walk,
dance,
and be included.
there are more colours than just purple.