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Information about Greg "Ritallin" Frankson, spoken word artist, activist and social innovator

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POEM: Invisible Master

Greg Frankson

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada. I am not one who advocates for war, but I do appreciate and respect the sacrifices made historically by members of Canada's armed forces. Today is the day we pay respect to their memories, and so I am posting my poem "Invisible Master" from my first collection of poetry, Cerebral Stimulation, as my way of commemorating them.


as darkness turns to light
yawning day steps forth from night
stretching out across the earth
brightening beams give land new birth
i can hear distant clicking
of shoes striking concrete
the noise it makes
is neither brash nor discreet

here they come

on the horizon i can see
the brave, marching infantry
buttons gleaming in the glow
of Sol’s resplendent lumen show
the light sweetly caresses
like a gently crooned tune
as the lines pass me by
young ladies faint and swoon

faster, faster

they march solemnly and straight
never stopping to berate
young boys chasing at their heels
soon they’ll know just how it feels
when the time has come
to replace our fallen youth
only then will they see
the sad, inevitable truth

there they go

as they march quickly past
into adulthood gained too fast
parents sit and contemplate
upon their children’s present fate
and the soldiers in the line
marching left, right, left
also consider their own futures
of which some may soon be bereft

spirited on

down to the battle lines they go
momentum shifting to and fro
bullets whizzing by their heads
as they advance and mourn the dead
under gentle blue skies
where birds soar amongst the clouds
an entire generation
harvested by lethal ploughs

there they go
faster, faster
spirited on to
the supreme master

how will mankind ever learn
if we just kill, destroy and burn
let others duplicate the past
and make sure true peace never lasts
when the bugle sounds its melody
above the bombed terrain
i close my eyes and pray to God
it never happens again

here they come
faster, faster
spared at last from
sure disaster.


from Cerebral Stimulation, published by BeWrite Books
© A. Gregory Frankson, 2005. All rights reserved.

Competing at CFSW

Greg Frankson

So this is definitely it this time. I'm going back into Canadian slam retirement at the conclusion of the 2014 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word tonight. 

I came out to Victoria as a member of the Burlington Slam Project team and hit the stage with teammates Aria Tesolin (a.k.a. Ambrosia), Barb Day (a.k.a. Jaded) and Tomy Bewick. We had a great time together as a foursome, spending time in our rented apartment, going for walks, making meals communally in our kitchen, laughing and sharing the experience in a spirit of camaraderie and mutual caring. It was one of the best times I've had as a competitor at nationals.

Our team did not qualify for semifinals and chose to sit with the Toronto Up From The Roots team as they hit the stage last night. They won their bout and will compete for the championship tonight. My 2012 teammates Patrick de Belen and Dwayne Morgan have a chance to add another trophy to their award collection, and I'm very happy for them. They face Guelph, Toronto Poetry Slam and Montreal Throw  all teams that have brought fantastic, meaningful poetry to the stage. Their success is validation that at the end of the day, gimmicky and unserious poetry is not going to get you to the top. 

When you take the mic as a slammer, make sure you say something real. 

Good luck to the finalists tonight. I'll be watching and cheering. And then I'll happily hop a plane back east and get on with the rest of my artistic career.

POEM: Angry Life

Greg Frankson

the principle of personality – it works like this:
some personalities believe that you will have to dismiss
any principle you hold that’s contradicting their goals –
but you don’t have to acquiesce to how their selfishness rolls
standing up and holding strong is a hazardous task
and expecting understanding may be too much to ask
from anyone who wilfully denies you share in their cause
while they coerce the naïve into narcissistic applause
if you face a situation where the issues are clear
always trust your principles without succumbing to fear
realize that your conviction when it’s pure never fails
while your dissenters lock themselves inside their spiritual jails
if people hate on your decisions, just dismiss that strife
because i know we’re not meant to lead an angry life
because i know we’re not meant to lead an angry life
because i know we’re not meant to lead an angry life

the most important word in English is the word “relinquish”
and i have learned that if you do this then you can distinguish
between enlightenment and pettiness that ruins the soul
if negativity’s permitted to establish control 
surface beauty can be warped into a hideous face
if people wallow in the gloom they claim they need to erase
cuz it’s safer to stay miserable with someone to blame
than to search inside the self to find the source of the shame
self-destruction is the outcome when they swallow their fear
and then transform it into venom underneath the veneer
that simply isn’t fooling anyone should fury ignite –
can’t survive without consuming beef they season with spite
but i’ll just keep moving ahead while they’re acting trife
because i know we’re not meant to lead an angry life
because i know we’re not meant to lead an angry life
because i know we’re not meant to lead an angry life

view destructive interactions in your mind on repeat
pressure in your blood increases while disrupting your sleep
become aggressive in your tone whenever speaking to friends
it’s at this point when you should realize your anger depends
upon inventing situations filled with malice and ire
to fan the flames of victimhood that are consuming your pyre
when you’ve reached this point addiction to the gossip and grief
motivate the inner hatred falsely labeled relief
and there isn’t a single thing that anyone except you 
can do to finally decipher what is false and what’s true
and when the sandwich full of crap that you’ve been eating for years
disappears your tears will never clear foundational fears 
those who keep their hatreds sharp always die by that knife
but yo i know we’re not meant to lead an angry life
because i know we’re not meant to lead an angry life
because i know we’re not meant to lead an angry life

if people hate on your decisions, just dismiss that strife
because i know we’re not meant to lead an angry life
just keep moving ahead while they’re acting trife
because i know we’re not meant to lead an angry life
those who keep their hatreds sharp always die by that knife
but yo i know we’re not meant to lead an angry life
only those who shed hatred live where love is rife
because i know we’re not meant to lead an angry life.


© A. Gregory Frankson, 2014. All rights reserved. 

Being Good to Yourself

Greg Frankson

This weekend I reached the end of my physical capacities. My body, feeling the strain, decided it was time to shut down. For several months I have been working very hard on my business development plans, working with my team to develop new programs and initiatives through Cytopoetics. I've also been organizing events and performing at shows, just like I've always done over the last eleven years. But something wasn't right, and my body has been trying to let me know in ways large and small for a while now. 

I'm able to look back at it a bit more objectively now, especially since I can't really do much except think about things -- when your body rebels, there's literally nowhere for you to go. 

It's true when they say you have nothing if you don't have your health. As I get older I need to take the time to take better care of myself. Barging through stress and pressure as if I'm oblivious to its negative impact is unwise and probably foolhardy.

Today I give thanks for my relatively good health (notwithstanding my body's weekend rebellion) and pledge to myself to be more mindful of what my body needs.

Here's to your health, too!

Culture Days in The Queen City

Greg Frankson

This morning I woke up here in Regina for the first time since featuring at the 2013 Cathedral Village Arts Festival. For the next three days I will be involved in the local Culture Days celebrations that have swept right across the country. Here in The Queen City, I will be involved in the following four events:

Autumn Fest Spoken Word / Performance Workshop - Friday 4-6pm @ Queen City Hub
Autumn Fest Poetry Slam - Friday 7:30pm @ The Mercury Café & Grill
Autumn Fest Words in the Park with Open Mic - Saturday 11am-2pm @ Victoria Park
Speak Up Spoken Word Workshop (co-facilitated with Shayna Stock) - Sunday 3-5pm

Then I'm hopping on a plane back to Toronto. 

I love coming to this city because of the unbelievable hospitality I receive at the hands of Vertigo Series producer Tara Solheim. I can't thank her enough for opening her home to me and throwing impromptu parties with her siblings! Truly, coming to Regina is a highlight for me because of the way local organizers treat their guests, so thank you to everyone for that wonderful treatment.

I'm keen to see what Regina has to offer poetically. Let's do this!