Month: December 2014

A Poem About Family and the New Year Plus Blog

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Gekko From The Big Island of Hawaii

Good day dear readers!  Much to talk about, much to say.  I have been doing a fair bit of work lately, I have been looking into the field of comic and graphic novel publishing and I am thinking I would like to publish a comic from a script I wrote about mental illness to help educate the teens and young students I will be meeting when I start my new job as a public speaker for the Schizophrenia Society.  It is all really exciting, I have also gotten an offer to set up a writing workshop or two that will actually pay.  I don’t know what concept most of my readers have of writing, but it is a very rare occasion that you make money on anything.  There are postings for people as writers in residence and other things, but I lack the education for such a posting.  I do make a small amount of money on book sales, but when you figure in time and effort and publishing and shipping costs plus all the copies I end up giving out for free, I would be very surprised if I end up breaking even, which really isn’t that bad to be honest.  I love to write, and I love it when others read what I write and give me favourable feedback.  I don’t even mind when people give me negative feedback.  A person the other day wrote to me on this blog about how my belief in God was like believing in Santa Claus and I actually greatly welcomed his comment because it is allowing me to open a dialogue about the whole theology question, which I not only have a lot of experience studying, but a lot of experience arguing about.

It has also been a pretty great week partially because people have been so kind and generous with me in regards to presents, but I am even happier because my sister and my niece are here and I love them both very dearly.  My niece is a joy to be around, I am so amazed at how smart she is.  It is weird that this little girl who I once held in my arms and fed a bottle to can say things like, “Hey dude-watch out!” and all kinds of gems like that.  It really does fill my heart with joy just watching her play.  I think one of the most amazing things about kids is that they really do love people unconditionally.  Nothing can make them stop loving you, except possibly puberty.  It reminds me a lot of when I was a kid and I had this Uncle in Drumheller who was an amazing guy.  I loved him so much, he was a hero to me, he worked as a heavy duty mechanic and heavy equipment operator and he was John freeking Wayne to me.  He was such a dear man and did things like one time my brother and I found a baseball glove, bat and mitt and we were going to share them and my Uncle took my brother’s share of them away from him and gave them to me.  I kept the bat for a very long time and I fear sometimes that my brother still resents that incident.  It did make me feel special though, something that didn’t happen a lot being the youngest although I suppose we all got our measure of love from family, just in different ingredients and measurements.  Anyhow, this is all getting a bit drippy.  I wanted to write a bit about the New Year before I leave you for today’s poem.  It is interesting that the symbol of New Year’s is a new baby who replaces and old man.  It is a metaphor, a symbol of new life, like my niece who is the subject of today’s poem.  I look at her and think of new hope for our family, the idea that we will have this wonderful little human being to represent us after we are gone.  Anyhow dear readers, please give me as much feedback as you can, I hope you enjoy today’s poem which will be below the below photo.  Cheers!!

 

 

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Edmonton Art Gallery

Children

 

As mankind approaches a brand new year

And we consider all of our hopes and fears

I think most of those that I hold dear

Some things in my mind become so clear

 

Close friends I lost that once meant so much

Lost lovers who I will never once more touch

Memories and mementos and such and such

Make me wonder if my past is just a crutch

 

My sister tries to come here in this season

I’m glad she comes for a special reason

My dear wonderful niece whose looks are pleasing

Comes along for happy hugs and teasing

 

My sister’s child who I love so dear

The only person for whom I can still shed a tear

Brings me new hope as innocent as a newborn deer

And reminds me that my goal is clear

 

It is a simple goal, I will tell it to you

To be a hero, always be good and true

It’s not fantastic, not anything new

It’s just what I always wished that I could do

 

My brother Kris was that person for me

My hero, my champion who worked to be

A person I could look up to and see

What it meant to be brave, strong and free

 

I suppose soon now that my niece is ten

I will have to look back on these days and remember when

I called her up every now and then

And she inspired me to pick up my pen

 

I want to paint in words her innocent smile

Her happy spirit, pluck and guile

Keep that in my head for a long long while

Pack the words away in a special file

 

She’s growing up so fast, it seems just days ago

Her little mind was eager to soak up all it didn’t know

At ten she is beginning to lose that glow

But we still laugh sometimes and play in the snow

 

I think often it would have been so nice to have my own child

But being a dad seems to just not be my style

And so I will cherish what I have for a while

A sweet niece for whom I will always go the extra mile

 

I look at my little niece and think about how she is so sweet

And how her soft appealing looks can not be beat

She dances and sings and runs me off my feet

Before I say goodbye and into my own space retreat

 

The love for my flesh and blood is so real

I just wish I knew a little more about how it feels

To be the only little one around your family’s heels

And not have an adults more firm ideals

 

I love her so much it hurts to think of the coming day

When she will change and feel a different way

I wish I had the words to help her, to say

That this world is hers in which to laugh and play

 

But the sad thing that I must realize

If I can ever be thought of as wise

No matter how much a family member tries

Each one of us on Earth has a time to live and a time when he or she dies

 

My little one will have to learn through work and play

And not even listen to what her Uncle has to say

Because truly at the end of each new dawning day

We must own our own choices, own the path we take

 

Leif Gregersen

December 29, 2014

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Jesus Poem and Blog About Christmas

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Well, here it is the 25th of December again.  For some time, this was a very bad time for me.  Many of the years on this day I was in a pretty black mood.  Part of it had to do with when I was 18.  I was a very rude and disagreeable youngster, and I had a lot of problems getting along with my Dad.  To back things up just a little bit, that previous summer, when I was 17, I had mostly finished high school and realized that I had spent 13 years in an education system that hadn’t taught me the slightest thing about what to do the first day I was faced with no school to go to.  It was good I suppose that I was working, but so many things didn’t seem to matter much anymore.  I had a fancy car, a 1978 Cobra, I had a little money rolling in and I also had a good chance of getting into University.  But the whole idea that there was this vast and unexplored world kind of scared me, I had no idea what to do or where to go.  So, when summer ended, I registered again at my old high school.  Over the course of the next few months, I had a very hard time living with my Dad and Christmas brought everything to a head.  My sister and brother and my sister’s boyfriend came over for Christmas dinner and my Mom had cooked all day.  Then about 2 minutes into our meal my Dad and I started going at it and he pulled the plug on the whole holiday.  No meal, no presents, no celebration.  Over.  Now.  I left, and ended up having to sell my car with the hopes of renting an apartment, but it all seemed impossible.  Rent, transportation, everything.  I really wanted to finish school, to go somewhere with my life but it was overwhelming to even think about trying.  So, I ended up going back home and literally begging my Dad to let me stay at home to finish high school.  He agreed, and things got even worse between us.   A few months later I had my first mental breakdown and ended up in the mental hospital.  Since then, Christmas kind of sucked, but as I have grown up it has actually gotten pretty wonderful.  I have a lot of great friends, I can make good money working concerts when I want, my medications do a great job of keeping me from either being depressed or manic, and it once again looks like my life is going somewhere.  And the great part is it only took 25 years!!  That sounds depressing, but it makes for a good story though.  Well, I think I will leave things off at that.  I would really like to hear feedback about my Christmas poem below the attached photo.  Merry Christmas, peace on Earth and good will to all mankind!!!

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Christmas, 2014

 

 

Right now it’s the 25th of December

And I’m weighing up this great year

So many things to be thankful for

And so many loved ones are near

 

Some years back in a place

I hope to not see again for all time

I spent six months locked up

I was not charged with a crime

 

I had an illness known as bipolar

Something wrong with my head

I was so sick and confused

So mixed up I wished I was dead

 

My dear Dad helped my return

To the world of the living

After all I put him through

He was still loving and forgiving

 

Each day we would walk in the park

A peaceful and soothing way

To clear up one’s thoughts

And get out all I wanted to say

 

Though I was angry

Though I was crazy, I was mad

He never held that illness against me

My dear loving Dad

 

I think that in heaven

Our father God will be like this

Despite that his son died on the cross for us

Betrayed by a Judas kiss

 

I hope all men and women

Can have Christmas in their heart

Be they Buddhist or Muslim

World wide love is a great start

 

As for me I won’t say sorry

I believe this day is the birth of Christ on Earth

Because in his short time with us humans

He sowed so many seeds of great worth

 

The bible tells me of his ministry

And how he is in our heart

I can tell you how real he is to me

And how his love will never depart

 

His words and his giving and healing

Showed so many a new way to love mankind

And the gifts of healing and love I have gotten

Are miracles just like when he was healing the blind

 

Jesus said what you do for the least of us,

You do for me

Try and give to those with nothing

You will be set free

 

 

Merry Christmas!!!!

 

Leif Gregersen

Blog and Soul Mate Poem

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I am hoping tomorrow will be a good day.  It has been kind of an incredible week, I met with my friend, mentor, editor and life coach Richard Van Camp and made a decision that I want to try and interview him for The National Post.  I spoke to the right editor and sent off a proposal, now I just have to wait and hope.  As some may know, soon I am going to start my new job going around to schools and other groups and talking about my experiences with mental illness, and so I put in an order for another printing of my books, “Inching Back to Sane” and “Through The Withering Storm” which is going to set me back close to $1,000.00.  I put the books on my Dad’s credit card and can’t believe he isn’t going to kill me.

Another big milestone has come my way, I have received copies of my third poetry book, “Stargazer: My Life In Constellations” which was a title Richard picked out for me.  I have even sold two copies already.  In January I want to synchronize a mention about my new book in the St.Albert Gazette with a book signing at Chapters book store in St.Albert.  It was such a cool experience last time I did it, meeting the parents of one of my brother’s first girlfriends and my elementary school enrichment teacher.  When I met with Richard yesterday at a diner we frequent (Route 99 on 87 avenue and 99 street, Edmonton) I was putting business cards into books and a waitress asked me what the books were for.  She seemed really surprised that I had written these and told me it is her life’s ambition to become a writer, she has even written a few unpublished books herself.  She bought two of my “Inching Back to Sane” books off me, one for herself, one for her mom, and I was really happy about it.  I always think it is a cool thing to help other writers in any way I can, so if anyone out there reads this and wants any writing advice, feel free to drop me an email at viking3082000@yahoo.com and I will be as helpful as possible.

Soon Christmas time will be here and on Boxing Day my sister and niece are coming.  It should be all kinds of fun, I have this feeling that one day my niece will become a writer.  She reads all kinds of books and last time she was here she wrote a short story and I know she has been writing poems.  It’s a lot of pressure to put on a 10 year-old so I’m going to wait until she gets a bit older and just give her gentle directions as to how awesome it can be to write.

Aside from all that, I am just happy to be alive.  I may be broke after this book order, but if I work hard I can sell a lot of those books and I will have that extra few bucks here and there.  Richard told me that he has spoken to a publisher who is looking at a young adult novel I wrote and though there is no solid news, the squishy news (that my manuscript is making the rounds with the editors) is good.  Other than that, I don’t have much more to say.  Scroll down past the below photo for today’s poem, and please feel free to email me or comment.

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Soul Mates

 

In the darkest times of my young life

I had wished for a lover, wished for a wife

 

But one can’t find a mate when they aren’t whole

And people can tell when you’re just half a soul

 

Are you worried that you are sad and hurt deep down?

Does it get worse when other people are around?

 

A lot of us have gone through all this

And made it past it all to our first love, first kiss

 

Love will find your lonely heart, don’t doubt one bit

Just remember: you can’t dance if you forever sit

 

I let so much time slip by when I was a kid

It makes me feel regret even now that I did

 

I had to choose between being loved or being tough

I was relieved to learn that love is enough

 

When two people who care truly unite

It means little that they part, less when they fight

 

All that matters is what is in your heart

Making the one you love your best friend is the perfect start

 

For some of us love has been around for quite a while

You will hear some of these folks joke around, laugh and smile

 

But the truth is a soul mate is one for life

If they care enough and can weather all the strife

 

 

Leif Gregersen

December 18, 2014

Short Story Blog and Prison Poem

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Well, here it is Saturday and I fear I would most like to be shopping. There is a flea market where I can pick up comics by the ton and I have been enjoying reading the comics and then giving them to young kids around the neighbourhood and sometimes also giving them out when I do book signings. The other day I went to a party for the new library writers in residence and my neighbour and friend Gary was asked to read portions of his new book about his prison volunteer efforts. Gary is really an amazing guy, he not only works for numerous charities, he is a musician and has a PhD in English. I met Gary in the neighbourhood and then found out we are both poets and so we car pool to one of my favourite Edmonton events, “The Stroll of Poets” meetings which take place Mondays.

Another kind of cool thing about Gary is that he is raising his Grandkids. His granddaughter is this feisty little 7 year-old who is never afraid to speak her mind, she is really a neat kid. Spending time with children really makes me wish that I could have raised a child or two of my own. But all that aside, things are going well. I have this very strong urge though to save up and buy a brand new Nikon Camera on boxing day. There is one that would just take amazing pictures, has a 24.3 MP sensor and comes with two lenses. The main problem is that I most want a good camera for when I go on vacation, but if I buy this camera I won’t be able to afford to go on vacation.

As for my next trip, I am not sure if I want to go to Hawaii again. It is such a beautiful place, and one of the things I really like about it is that it is part of the US. Which means you have all kinds of standards for road quality, clean water, safety in emergencies, and on and on. A lot of friends have been telling me about Costa Rica which sounds pretty good, but I will have to do more research before I commit to it.

This week I wrote two short stories, which I am submitting to literary journals for publication. Before sending them out I had two writer friends look them over and they seemed to like them, but I wonder if they have as much ‘literary’ content that these publications look for. At the very least I will be compiling these stories and others into another collection, and possibly trying to submit them to be published. Right now I am waiting to hear from a publisher on the West Coast of BC about a young adult novel I wrote which I think has promise, but as is often said, any writing is never really finished, it is more just abandoned.

Well, I don’t want to disappoint, so I have written another poem for you my good readers, you can find it just below the photo I am posting under this entry. Enjoy, and please leave your feedback!

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Down Through The Years

 

I used to often feel as though I were trapped inside

My dark and quiet room in which I sometimes hide

It seemed so easy to zone out and cover up my head

When I felt bad and needed my soft and yielding bed

Though I am not a young man I am always in bed alone

I was never able to have a family, have my own home

Through the years I have made some amazing friends

My inner thoughts sometimes fear they all just pretend

To see me as equal, a person who is whole

Not this shell I sometimes feel I am, without a soul

I am not like most, I have a bad affliction

Though not by choice like an addiction

It’s been called an illness, some say I’m just crazy

Some say I’m faking, some say I’m just lazy

My diagnosis gets me treatment and a pension

But still I wait and hope for some new invention

That will whisk this disease right out of me

So I can break these chains, one day be free

Before I was on my pills I did things I can’t forget

Hurt lovers, classmates, increased my family’s debt

How these people were kind enough not to put me away

I am more grateful than I could ever say

Things changed for me, after years I learned to adapt and grow

Each day one small seed of recovery I would sow

My dear old Dad also cared an awful lot

Even though many times we yelled and fought

And then one day I learned a friend had saved some writing

And another close friend inspired me to keep trying, fighting

Not long after that I had a book to show for all my pain

And I slowly started to become whole again

The stories in the book told of what I went through inside

It filled me with new hope, my loved ones with pride

And now when I meet someone who has been wronged

I let them know there is a way to feel as though they belong

Just like me they can take up the pen

Tell their deepest fears, feel young again

Life will not ever be perfect, I still need help and medicine

But I will never give up on myself again

You see, I did that once, I tried to end my life

I put my loved ones through so much pain and strife

I will never again look for a solution in suicide

I now have my work to let out what I feel inside

Bit by bit when you write your life down

You see new miracles all around

The joy of a warm spring day, the smell of flowers

The renewing aspect of travelling’s powers

And then of course is my wonderful niece I will see soon

More beautiful than a warm happy day in june

Since those past dark days I have gone so far

Expressed so much, I have healed my scar

And now I tell you dear reader with these lines

No matter how bad it gets there will be happy times

Think not on all you do not have or will never do

And hug someone who cares for you

Leif Gregersen

December 13, 2014

Poetry of December

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Well, it has been a long week, it seems to be long anyway, even though it is just Thursday.  I think a lot about when I was a kid and how in elementary and junior high school I would look up at the clock and count the hours, minutes, seconds until I could leave.  Sometimes I would even do this when I had work to do although most of the time school didn’t keep me as busy as many of the other students.  I don’t regret my school days at all, actually I really started to like going to school when I made it to high school. Good old Paul Kane High, so many good memories.  Not long ago there was a 25 year class reunion posted to Facebook and I was blocked from viewing it by the administrators of the site.  It did hurt but as the man says, “The Best Revenge is Living Well”.  I really feel very blessed this year, I mentioned a few posts back that I had a great birthday, but my birthday seems to be still going.  Today I received a wonderful package in the mail from my old friend Caroline.  She sent me socks, a t-shirt she thought would look good on me, chocolates, special tea and even a delicious box of ready to make noodles.  And then later the same day my Dad gave me the news that my sister had just sent $75 in the mail for me.  I seem to be making out like a bandit this year.

One of the things that I think is very special about this year, and a few previous is how I seem to be able to form strong bonds with people.  Funny enough, I have a cousin who lives in Ontario who I don’t talk to a whole lot but I have become good friends with his wife Kirsten.  A few years back, her and I were chatting on Facebook and she had to go and answer a phone call and I thought to myself, “why don’t I write her a nice poem about England?” and so I did, right off the top of my head.  She came back and read it and said, “What a lovely poem Leif, who wrote it?”  I simply said, “I did-just now.”  her response?  “Fuck off!”  That really made me laugh.  I think I had to write more poems for her to convince her that I really do have something of a gift for poetry.  The super neat thing is that Kirsten and my cousin Brian at the time were University Professors and they used some of my poems as illustrations in their courses.

Yesterday a friend was talking to me and was telling me he was very sad because a close friend of his had a daughter who lost a newborn baby to an illness at the age of 3 months.  I felt touched by the words he told me and decided to write a poem for the family, perhaps to be read in the eulogy.  I don’t want to repeat the poem here, I kind of feel it is too personal, but it excites me that one day as I get better known I will be able to tailor-make poems for important occasions.  The whole world seems to be wide open for me right now.  I even have a new poetry book coming out some time soon.  Anyhow, I am going to post a photo here again I think, scroll down past it for today’s poem.  Thank you dear readers.

 

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A Poet’s Night

 

 

Winter’s night so dark

Crisp cold snow all around

I’m alone but not lonely

There is little sound

 

I don’t hurt inside

On nights like these

I have my books

I have mid-winter’s gentle breeze

 

My poems keep me

From wandering thoughts

Of all I once dreamed of

All the things I’m not

 

In the darkness

I can always say

Peace and contentment

Are never far away

 

I can open any book

And be in another place

In another mind

Even out in space

 

An old young man

With a soul that’s been to hell

Finally I have all I wanted

Happy alive and well

 

I’m so dearly lucky

To have my dim-lit room

Volumes of poems

Both to write and consume

 

Thoughts of loved ones

On this Earth and loved ones gone

Keep me working, writing

Keep my spirit strong

 

If there is just one out there

Who cares for you

No such thing as being lonely

No such thing as being blue

 

And if you lack a love

To call your own

Remember there are hearts out there

Even more alone

 

Tomorrow is your new chance

To find that hurting soul

Give a little of yourself

And feel warm and whole

 

Never stop hoping

That you will make your way

Never stop knowing

You have something to say

 

Pick up your pen

Write out your heart’s true longing

Speak of wandering

Of not belonging

 

And then one day

Someone will read about you

They will understand

Know your heart is true

 

 

 

Leif Gregersen

 

December 11, 2014

Approaching Christmas and Loving Being a Poet

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MY OWN SHOPPING PHILOSOPHY FOR DECEMBER 6, 2014

Well, it is now December 6, basically that means that my birthday is over with, but it has been a wonderful week.  A little while back I made a bold move and put a beautiful Nikon Camera (DSLR with 2 lenses) on my Dad’s credit card and decided I really couldn’t afford it so I took it back, but now that I am blogging and posting pictures nearly every day I really wish I had a nice camera again.  One of the problems is that there isn’t a lot of great stuff to take pictures of in Edmonton.  I do have my Fujifilm underwater camera, which is an amazing little device but just doesn’t measure up to a camera like the Nikon or even the Canon Rebel that I sold.

This morning I woke up and went to press the light on my watch and it seemed the battery was dying.  As it is getting worn and scratched, and I don’t really see the point of all the features it has, I decided among my missions today would be to find a new watch.  I could have gone to Wal-Mart, but I am reminded of a saying that goes: “Only rich people can afford to buy cheap things.”  I knew if I tried to save a bit of money and buy a $30 or $40 watch at Wal-Mart it wouldn’t last long, so I went to a great little mall called Westmount and bought a really nice Caravelle watch by Bulova on sale for $97.  It is a beautiful watch, plus when you buy new things, you don’t need to have as much taste because usually expensive new things are going to be in style a lot longer than regular crap.

I have been enjoying a new book I got as recommended reading for a Poetry course I am taking, called “The Poet’s Companion”.  In each chapter, the book talks briefly of different subjects such as death and grief, family and other subjects, then has writing prompts, or assignments where you get different ideas on poems to write.  As time goes by, I am thinking more and more that I want to be a poet, and possibly just a poet.  I do see a place in my writing life for the books I have written about my life with Bipolar Disorder, but I am finding that writing poetry and occasionally reciting it in public is extremely rewarding.  Just the other day as well, I attending a meeting with some local poets with regards to setting up a venue for Edmonton’s upcoming Poetry Festival.

Aside from all that, my heart is starting to lean towards the concept of finding some tropical paradise. I would love to return to Hawaii, but it is a bit pricey.  I was also thinking for a while about Mexico, but people have told me different things that make me want to find other places to go.  What I am thinking right now would be ideal would be to head for Costa Rica, I have been getting a lot of positive feedback about that place.  I would ideally like to rent a car, explore, snorkel or even scuba dive and just generally relax and enjoy myself.  The only problem is I just don’t know if it is feasible to take time off a job I am going to soon be starting, giving talks about mental illness and counselling people with Schizophrenia in a peer support setting.  Well, time will tell!  Thank you dear readers, as usual, scroll down for today’s poem which I wrote about a friend I lost to suicide twenty-six years ago around this time of year.

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Old Friend

 

My friend do not leave me stay by my side

The pathways are dark and there is nowhere to hide

If I thought that by now there was a chance that you would be gone

I would have found someone else to keep me moving on

 

It was some years ago that you were no more

Sometimes I still dream of meeting you on some distant shore

The night is so dark and I am all alone

It was always times like this you let me into your home

 

We were a gang of young men who laughed together and cried

I will never forget how I heard that you died

Some mutual friends came by to tell me the awful news

From then on it seemed it was all self-loathing and booze

 

I could not understand how those people let you down

And how as they buried you they made you out to be some clown

I have to admit you died by your own hands

But how you must have felt no one understands

 

You were eighteen and had the world at your feet

You had a nice girlfriend who was pretty and sweet

Then your best friend and her decided they didn’t need you

If it was me I don’t know what I would do

 

You were such a good person and honest and smart

Hearing you threw away your whole life tore me apart

You were my classmate, my last link to our old friends

What you would do for any of us didn’t know any ends

 

You were the first person to have their own CD sound system

You invited me over to give some great music a listen

I felt bad and knew I would never have such a thing

You smiled and told me to wait to see what Santa would bring

 

The idea that you would give me a gift better than any I ever had

Now makes me feel angry, confused and very sad

Everyone you knew was for a time your best friend

I only wish I could have been there to stop you at the end

 

Yes I failed you dear friend, I hate to admit that it’s true

Although sometimes I feel your presence when I feel a little unglued

My friend do not leave me stay by my side

The pathways are dark and there is nowhere to hide

 

 

Leif Gregersen

December 6, 2014

http://www.edmontonwriter.com

    

Muse, Cruel Muse, I Need You Now

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The picture beside this paragraph is one of me and a promising young pilot from my former Air Cadet Squadron at Villeneuve Airport, where I took some photos for an article I was writing for the Lion’s Club magazine.

 

 

 

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This second photo for today is of another aviator, one I never tire of watching or photographing.  The young man above is likely flying military jets by now, but he will never have the real freedom and beauty of this little birdie here.

 

 

The Long and Short of It All

Well, I did have an incredible birthday, but life must move forwards.  I don’t like to say “life goes on” because I remember a day many years ago when I was 17 and I first had to seriously deal with death.  A good friend of mine, named Brad had killed himself a few short days before and I was completely devastated.  I was working at a gas station at the time and some people who also knew Brad came in and when I asked one guy if he heard, he smiled and said, “oh well, life goes on I guess.”  I will never forget that cold little bastard or the smile on his face.  Not three months later his mother committed suicide and I went through hell not knowing how to deal with the situation.  I don’t know if it was a direct result, but not long after that I found myself being confined to a mental hospital in dire need of treatment.  I am reminded of words such as, “For whom the bell tolls” and Tennyson’s incredible quote where he spoke of the loss of a friend and said, “I go on with a deep sense of longing and regret, among new faces and different minds.”  But the reality is, I now do kind of feel that when someone kills themselves, there are better things a person can do other than fall to pieces.  The sad fact of things is that many people believe that suicide is a form of revenge-getting.  And the person who kills themselves doesn’t have to live with the pain, the people he/she leaves behind do.  I also have been looking at the whole question of suicide a bit differently because recently I have been going to a Catholic Church with an incredibly kind and wise priest who once mentioned that while suicide is a sin, there are some people who are not in a normal state of mental health who kill themselves and will be forgiven by God.

I suppose I should turn to lighter subjects.  I am glad to be 43, and very glad to be in a healthy state of mental and physical health.  I keep active by swimming and doing a lot of walking and a bit of Yoga.  Sometimes I wonder if it is a good idea to do Yoga being a Christian because it is almost a religious practise that goes against some tenants of the Christian faith.  This does seem a bit silly to think about, but it is really important to me that I keep my faith and my ‘relationship with God’ in a right state.  I have to say I like a lot of what our new Pope Francis talks about, though some of the things he says leaves me confused.  I hope one day soon I get some bold followers who are knowledgeable in such subjects to comment and discuss these things with me.  I also hope that I get my lazy Sunday afternoon butt out of bed more often so I can get to Church for the first time in months.  I really enjoy going to Catholic services, there is something so holy and pristine about going there, I often feel very cleansed and renewed after a service.  I do have this problem though, and I suppose it has a lot to do with my illness, and the proper balance of medications I am on, I get paranoid and angry quite easily when I am out in public.  This is something meditation is helping me with, but I think I also need to look at other chemical therapies that can help me with this.  Well, that is about all I have to say for now.  Below I am posting a poem I just wrote that I am hoping to take to “The Stroll of Poets” where I recite my poetry in public each Monday night.  You can find the poem just past the attached photo.

 

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In the Darker Hours

 

 

Cruel, insipid muse, where can you be?

Inside I have quatrains longing to be free

Stanzas of of rhymes dancing in my head

They won’t let me rest as I lay in my bed

 

Perhaps it’s the comics, the TV and cartoons

Ingesting those media makes me feel the perfect buffoon

I should be drinking in sonnets and dark villanelles

Tasting ancient philosophy, feeding brain cells

 

Poetry you are such a cruel wench

Poetry, poetry you disgust me like a stench

All I can come up with since this past week’s start

Is four rhyming lines that stink worse than a fart

 

I tried going to a play, I tried expressive art film

Throwing in fiction short stories into the kiln

Yet all I have brewed is words stale and flat

Un-chewed, undigested verse chunks all greasy and full of fat

 

I live in such a time that I shouldn’t have to beg you

My muse, my inspiration, for rhyming lines that are new

Once there was a time I could write on for hours

But trite teenager comic books seem to have sapped all my powers

 

It was a nice thing going out to a reading or two

But in the end they reminded me I’ve boiled a poor stew

I need to flambé up some words that will tickle and inspire

My need for these things is growing so dire

 

I can taste on my tongue the vestiges of well thought out lines

This aabb scheme crap I am putting out is somewhat less than divine

I want to train my little brain to speak more iambically

I want to loosen my belt and let my constrained breath of words free

 

It’s for you my dear reader, or listener perhaps

That I need to somehow create something more than this crap

Because in the end I live for that applause

At the end of my poem when I know I have stated well my bold cause

 

All I think I must do is sum up in these short bursts of words

The plight of the lonely, the angry, disturbed

Because in the end who among us has all they want

Why my good muse do you tickle, tease and taunt?

 

Leif Gregersen

December 3, 2014

http://www.edmontonwriter.com

 

 

 

 

The Summation of my 42nd Year In a Blog

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On the Occasion Of My 43rd Birthday

Well, here it is December 2nd and I have to say this is the best birthday I have ever had.  For some reason, I feel young and alive and happy through and through.  I suppose I could say that it might have to do with working an amazing concert the other day with a great bunch of people, it might have to do with the fact that I have been able to go to Hawaii and a few other places this year.  I guess though, that it all comes down to love.  I really feel loved this year and I feel that I love others in my life.  I would like to try and pin that down further though.  Earlier, a card arrived from my sister signed by her, my niece and her husband and it filled my heart with joy.  The card was hand made, the words “happy birthday” were cut out just like you see ransom notes made in old movies, and my sister had taken the time to find little “fox” cartoons doing some of the things I like to do.  There was a fox with a huge stack of books, there was a fox in a beatnik get up reading poetry at a microphone, and cartoon pictures of popcorn on the stove (which I make at least once a night) and another one of movie cameras.  It makes me feel so special to have a sister that cares enough about me and knows enough about me to take the time to do something like that.  I also feel very grateful for my niece, who happily sang to me a Taylor Swift song she likes (after singing happy birthday), and my day had started out with birthday wishes from my departed cousin’s wife and son who live in Denmark, and soon after my ex-girlfriend Caroline and her boss called me up and sang happy birthday to me over the phone.  The day was filled with good wishes in the form of phone calls, Facebook posts, and I even had my incredible writer friend Richard Van Camp meet up with me and he gave me a very thoughtful gift, a 25 cent coin with a glow-in-the-dark dinosaur on it, stamped with the date 2013 which is the year we first started being friends.  How could anyone ask for more caring and wonderful people in their life?  I also had a dinner invitation from my Dad and Brother, but it will be put off a day or two as my Dad has a cold.

I think what is interesting also is that a good deal of my happiness today didn’t just come from the love I have received and the love I have for others, it has a lot to do with the fact that I have finally started believing in myself as a writer.  That all began two short years back when I first published my memoir, “Through The Withering Storm”.  There are things I don’t like about that book, things I would like to change, but I can’t deny that putting out a book, and also the seven other books I have now published have changed who I am dramatically.  Every time I meet someone who wants to write, I try to tell them all I can about how to succeed, what courses to take, what books and magazines to buy.  All of us have a story to tell, and with a little coaxing and a lot of effort, those stories can one day become a success.

I guess I would like to also talk about Hawaii now as well.  When I was there, one of the best things I took the time to do was to bring snorkelling gear and go swimming among the coral with all the tropical fish.  The gentle rocking of the waves, the absence of any sound but my breathing, the incredible beauty of the underwater world, and the ever-present option of being able to swim back to shore and lay in the hot sun on the beach.  It was beyond divine.  One of the amazing things about it was how I felt when I got back.  After seeing a way of doing something I wanted to do for such a long time and having such a great time doing it, it was no trouble at all facing a few days of work to earn some money and have the chance of going back again.  I don’t know if Hawaii will be my next destination, but I do know I will go some place where I can see history and swim in clear water off a beach.  And that, dear readers, is about all for today.  I am going to put a poem below, but I didn’t write it today, it is from my cache of poetry, I will try and be more original next time, but I hope you like this one anyhow.  It is below the following photo:

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MOVING FORWARD
When I look back on my life, as it spans over 40 years

I think of the strength of my parents through my setbacks and tears

One night as a young child I told them I never wanted to move away

But still that moment had to come to pass one day

Inside the love and protection of our little home

My life was joy, I was never sad, I was never alone

But the years came and went and we lost my mom

Even though on the next morning still out came the sun

It took a few years to feel better again after

She had been so special to us, she was our joy and our laughter

I now think of my Dad and all the things he has gone through

One day soon he will rejoin my mom, I know that to be true

Time will march on, one day my brother and sister too will pass

Somehow as the youngest I have hopes to be the last

When I know my time is coming and my end soon will be

I will go out into the Prairie and plant an oak tree

I want to leave something in this world to mark who we were

Five people, a dog and a cat, held together by love so pure

And then soon after I will take my last breath

And find my perfect completion having lived large until my death

I will go off to be a spirit and all those I had known will be there

Worshiping our God, loving one another without a care

Time will mean nothing, pain and sadness will be all gone

We will live like small happy children, love like them unconditionally on and on

Leif Gregersen

August 14, 2014