contact ritallin

Use the form on the right to send a message directly to Ritallin's email account.

CSI Regent Park - 585 Dundas Street East, 3rd Floor
Toronto ON M5A 2G7

(416) 732-3625

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


44 Gratitudes: #1 - The Gift of Life

Greg Frankson

For the first of my gratitudes I give thanks for life. It wasn’t straightforward for me to get here, as the text below explains. I had to fight for my first breath, and I’ll fight for what I believe in and to actualize my personal mission, until my last breath. Hope you enjoy this poem!

A Deep Breath Story by A. Gregory Frankson

let me tell you my story
the birth of this poet
not as analogy but rather 
the literal birth of this poet 

the way i entered the world
i view as personal metaphor

i came into being when two twentysomethings 
tried a second time to bring life to the world
first attempt failed when my brother 
two years before my delivery didn’t survive
in a rush he broke waters that carried him 
prematurely to brief breath, short life and quick death
to this day i wonder how my life would have been 
different or even non-existent if my brother Lea 
had made it through infancy

when i picture my mother laying her child to rest 
her inner strength moves me to silence
at that time she was already parent to my sister from 
previous incubation of a belly full of dreams 
so i marvel at her will at such a young age to try 
a third time after experience of such tragic emotional trauma

conversely, my father was a 70s cool cat Soul brother
too immature to know where his road was going
hand in hand he led her down that garden path 
ended with me on mom’s hip 
slipped grip on Soul and false platitudes on his lips
i do not know specifics of decisions that led 
to my conception but i fear my mother 
came to view that plan later as ill-conceived
when he perceived the second coming 
of her swelled abdomen he chose then to abdicate
relationship disintegrated as surely as the womb that encased 
me foetal by the time my expectant mother went into 
labour with me three and a half weeks past her due date 

i wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth
but a cord wrapped around my neck
nearly took my life before i took my first breath
so i learned early every inhalation
is precious and not to be taken for granted

external umbilical pressure on my throat
nearly crushed my larynx
and permanently rendered me unable to speak
i was born able to uncoil chords 
strike venomous true with words 
pressed to diamond sharpness 
long before i first spat fury into microphones

every time my mother had a contraction 
my heartbeat ceased to register on the monitor
perhaps this is why i’ve learned to ensure 
passions of my heart register unceasingly

the doctors were forced to save my life
surgically in sterile operation theatre
where they yanked me unceremoniously 
into the glare of the real world through Caesar’s eye 
so my vision from the first has always had to 
take in surroundings under harsh light of trauma
with knowledge surgeons in theatres where i work 
lack precision to sterilize my dreams
so long as i always operate incisively

and now that you know my story
the literal birth of this poet 
you know exactly why 
every time i’m about to use my voice 
i always 

a deep 

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



I will post regarding each of my 44 Gratitudes once a week on Mondays. It’s important to give thanks, and to start your week off right! Please feel free to like, share and comment on the posts as they appear.