Poem: 5 pages and 4 maps.

Poem: 5 pages and 4 maps.

(186 words) 15 October 2018

By Steven R.A. Markin

will the crown prosecutor take my side into consideration
and be reasonable?

5 pages and 4 maps
I stayed away from it,
for as long as I could.
it had been burdening me
obstructing my work
not painting
not writing poems
not focusing
hard to sleep,
so I dug deep and brought it out.

I cried.

I could image the day in the spring in May,
I have thought of this day
and over
and again
for over 4 months.
I wrote
and done so, honestly,
and detailed.
my side of the story
the most important story I have written,
but not the hardest.

2 charges.

my mom’s suicide attempt
was much harder than this.
staying inside scared for nearly three years
was harder than this.
losing Uncle George,
harder than this,
losing Maxwell,
harder than this,
losing Uncle Ray
losing Grandpa
all harder than this.

or no prison?
I am me.
forever me.
not who they think I am,
I am me.

5 pages and 4 maps of a day I can’t take back.
but I am still me.

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.
you misused my name,
and you will know that you did.

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

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


poem: looking at a failure

poem: looking at a failure

(226 words) July 2018

by Steven R.A. Markin

i don’t like the idea of who i am.
i can’t stand my reflection
looking back at me
with those sad eyes
that i’ve heard about
many times
from beautiful people
and strange.
i can’t stand the sight of my own
broken smile
unable to fake it
unable to convince me.
how many of them realize the truth?
looking at myself knowing that
each endeavour in life
that had excited me
thrilled me
that i had planned
and looked forward to
all had failed.
i learned at a young age
that plans are like lies
and adults lie,
and they are so damn convincing.
they taught me to smile.
i hate standing here
in the dim light half naked
a while past midnight
with paint on my hands
and ink on my fingertips
a sore neck and lower back,
i hate the effort i put in
all to fail.
work can be unappreciated
unappreciated is why i am alone
and single
and a failure.
i wasn’t born a failure
but I had to learn and to grow
as i don’t fail in the same way
each time.
i learn, but i can’t seem
to get it enough right
like them,
like the ones who have real smiles.
but i am not afraid to fail
unlike them,
at least i try
and i wouldn’t dare stop.


My acrylic paintings for sale


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
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
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,
more guys looking the same,
walking much the same,
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,
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


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
an inclusion to the world
an intra-
and inter-
we would be so much better off
than having more than just a month,
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,
and be included.
there are more colours than just purple.

poem: kaili – a college crush

poem: kaili – a college crush

(233 words) 25 Jun 2018

by S.R.A. Markin

i recall the silence between us
after being friends for a while,
many years back.

we would find comfy spots,
go for coffee, and chat in between classes.
you were upgrading to be in kinesiology,
and oddly, that is what i ended up doing.
you spoke a lot about your son and your
love for rugby, and how much you like
beards and plaid.
i mostly listened and made jokes,
which is probably what made it work.
at home, my girlfriend was accusing me
going on that i am cheating on her.
she didn’t know about you,
until one day i told her that i have a friend,
you talked about Goon being hilarious
so you lent it to me,
and guess what,
after two-years,
and a lot of fighting,
that is what got us to break up.
i got my shit, my dad helped
and we got the fuck out.
the next day, you waited by my locker
because that Russian boy was hitting
on you. i told you that i just broke up
with my girlfriend
you got upset
and started hanging out with the Russian.
we stopped talking.
and the year after, you were in my math class,
we both got there early most days,
and stood,
not saying a word.
we never talked again.
but i thought of you when watching Goon
with my most recent, now ex-girlfriend.

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